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2009.10.21 Topics

Emerging Artist Support Program 2009 --- announcement of application results

Right after its opening in 2001, Tokyo Wonder Site launched the "TWS-Emerging" series with the aim to foster young creators. In addition to this program for artists, a support program for aspiring planners (curators) was implemented in 2006, inviting young exhibition organizers to apply with concrete plans for art shows.
In the previous 4 rounds we received next to entries from planners (curators) also numerous exhibition proposals from artists planning exhibitions with their own participation. Many of those artists' selfproduced exhibition outlines were based on innovative ideas for types of art beyond existing genres.
We announce you three exhibition plans selected for the spring of next year.


・ "Deep Dig Dug" 
     planner: Motoko Dobashi / Kaori Nakajima

・ "Olta (last Exhibition of one year every month Exhibition)"
     planner: Nagaharu Hirafumi (Olta)

     planner: Yousaku Kikuchi


In my view, the fact that only few curators-to-be who studied (or are still studying) art and art history at university are applying for this kind of public program will be a major issue for Japanese art in the future. It's really a "trusting a wolf to watch over sheep" kind of affair. They might not have much opportunity to communicate with creators from their own generation, but then they should approach their work all the more aggressively. University professors who don't recommend their students to challenge such projects that are directly connected to practical on-site experience hold perhaps part of the responsibility. The important thing I guess is not to forget studying the past in order to forge the culture of one's own present and future.

Makoto Aida


What can we do in an "exhibition"?

Being a judge for the third time this year, I experienced a new kind of sensation. What I felt was an appetite for collaborative activities by young artists. It was about tactile senses or feeling of psychologically being attached to something that the individual applicants shared - and the transient, floating feeling of an immaterially sensuous acknowledgement of reality. It was also about insignificant changes desired in a daily routine where they cannot find any particular problems, and the fact that they have much less awareness on social and political issues in reality. The aspiration for real connections and relationships with others in this sort of environment is perhaps a mirror that reflects a need to realize their own raison d'etre. The program was an occasion that made me ponder the meaning of "making exhibitions".

Mami Kataoka
Chief curator, Mori Art Museum


Judges' reviews of the program's 2009 exhibition

Producing good works of art, coming up with something new and unprecedented, and presenting people with impressively memorable sights. That's about the job of an artist in a nutshell. 
Next come such issues as how to show the fruit of one's work; how to let people know about it; and how to explain and position it in an art historical context. Repeatedly carrying out trial runs in order to find answers should prove additionally beneficial for an artist's work. From "having one's work seen by people" to "showing it"; from "presenting it" to "getting it across"; and from "transmitting" to "sharing" it... I believe that this program is one valuable occasion to help creators expand their artistic horizons in such ways.

Yoshio Suzuki
Vice editor-in-chief, Brutus (Magazine House)


This year we received again notably more applications from artists than from aspiring curators. Their idea is obviously that teaming up with friends puts them in a position where they are able to express their fresh inner sensitivities straightforward and unconstrained by the standards of curators and commercial values. The situation is similar to what has become the key to contemporary music, with performers of so-called western music - playing scores as written by composers and under the direction of a conductor - shifting toward the style of Japanese traditional music that is composed by listening to each other part's performance, and with neither conductors nor scores. The question how to construct a new type of relationship between likeminded young curators and artists in order to define their collaborative horizon is in my opinion an important issue.

Kayoko Iemura
Program Director, Tokyo Wonder Site