Emerging Sociopolitical Art after 3/11

Koki Tanaka, 'Process of blowing flour', 2010, photograph
Event - Sainsbury Institute

Thursday 10 July, 2014
4:00pm BST - 5:15pm BST

Yuko Hasegawa (Chief Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo)

About the Seminar

The seminar will shed light on new forms of expressions and rise of sociopolitical art in response to 3.11 disaster that struck the eastern coastal region of Japan in 2011. Historically artists born in the late 1970s spent their youth during the economic slump of the 1990s referred to in Japan as the ‘lost decade.’ Many of these artists tend to look anew at society and everyday life from fresh perspectives and seek to share these with, and communicate them to, others through art. Their personal and small-scale political involvement could be labeled micro-politics, and while they remain self-aware of their own weaknesses and feelings of hopelessness, they embrace a kind of survivalist approach that involves searching for their own role or identity in an unstable environment.

Unlike conventional conceptual art, which is built logically and discursively, the emerging social and political art manifests in the form of what could be called ‘soft conceptualism’, which might be described as proposals and platform-building aimed at finding new forms of communication and dialogue.

The talk will feature artists who have adopted a variety of approaches.

Koki Tanaka undertakes projects based on collective creative activity. The artist collective Chim↑Pom adopts a journalistic approach to topics in staging performances that involve intervention in urban space. The multimedia production group Rhizomatiks makes accessible hidden information and mega data through their data visualization work. Meiro Koizumi produces controversial narratives that embroil strangers. Meanwhils, Aya Takano produces drawing-like paintings reminiscent of manga in which figures with primitive, fragile bodies are depicted in various psychological and social landscapes. And Sputniko!, who uses social networks to put forward proposals for an alternative future.

About the Speaker

Yuko Hasegawa is Chief Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (MOT) and Professor of the Department of Art Science, Tama Art University in Tokyo. Since 2008, Yuko has been a member of the Asian Art Council at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York). She is Artistic Director of Inujima Art House Project (2011-present) and Curator for Art Basel in Hong Kong Encounters to be held in May 2014. Her recent projects include BUNNY SMASH– design to touch the world (2013), ARCHITECTURAL ENVIRONMENTS for TOMORROW (2011) at Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, and Trans Cool Tokyo (2010-11) at the Singapore Art Museum. Her publications include Modern Women: Women Artists at the Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Modern Art, 2010, pp334-351 and Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa: SANAA, Phaidon Press, 2006.


Free | Booking required as seats are limited

This seminar is organized by the Norwich University of the Arts, Japan Foundation, and the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures.

Image: Koki Tanaka, ‘Process of blowing flour’, 2010, photograph

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