Dear HIBINOくん Dear HIBINO-kun
how are you doing lately in these precarious COVID-19 times and the coming Tokyo Olympics 2020 preparations? Any art projects planed for the Olympics with your Geidai-students?
The reason why I write you a personal letter today, obviously relates to your performance as an Olympic torchbearer. Strategically running around your home-turf, the JR Gifu-station, and changing the torch with world-famous, one of my favourite Japanese athletes, marathon runner TAKAHASHI Naoko 高橋尚子 shows the strong relationship between you and local politics.
Of course you’re free to do what you want to do. However, the reason why I write you this official letter, is to let you and my ART+CULTURE readers understand that there are artists in Japan, who’s art practice constitute a divergent vector than yours. That there exist different possibilities to re-contextualize the Tokyo Olympics 2020 as an artist in Japan.
Let me start with an exhibition I did at the gallery space of AOYAMA MEGURO in Tokyo, 2016. Reviewed widely and published as a book at ART DIVER:
書名：『The situation is under control』
著：亜 真里男（あ・まりお／英語名：Mario A）
ART DIVER 出版社
Especially the work ”Gogh, Kiyoshiro & Me （Summertime Blues – Tokyo 2020) “ 2016年 embodies my critical stance towards the Tokyo Olympics 2020. In this regard, tragically, COVID-19 made the situation in our country and for all the athletes involved, worse.
When I executed the painting, my sincere concern involved unnecessary taxpayers’ money, the financial burden for the local population and companies, plus, as a bad example, pointing out to the economical fiasco of the Nagano Olympics 1998, which I attended.
Having these experiences in mind, I warned again in 2018 about the danger in running up the debts in my beloved country Japan. Well, my prophecy unfortunately became reality; I wrote:
“You don’t want to remember.
Your joy is directly related to the current national debt.”
Tokyo Olympics 2020: run up more into debts
Now, let’s get to the next artist, whom you might know, too. With heavy sarcasm 風間サチコ KAZAMA Sachiko’s masterpiece “Dislympia 2680”, exhibited 2018 in the Maruki Gallery for The Hiroshima Panels, succeeded metaphorically to re-think the concept of the Olympiad.
Extremely popular and successful, the Mujin-to Production’s gallery artist had been handed over the prestigious “1. Tokyo Contemporary Art Award” by Tokyo Governor KOIKE Yuriko 小池 百合子.
For us art lovers, a rare, highly interesting notion of social commentary in REALPOLITIK, where we can get a big laugh! The Governor of Tokyo, with her mandate, is obliged to positively ‘represent’ the Tokyo Olympic 2020, – but as an irony of fate, she is promoting an artist who created anti-Olympiad works, like this spectacular “Dislympia 2680”, exquisite!
優作「ディスリンピック2680」@ 風間サチコ展・「原爆の図 丸木美術館」
KAZAMA Sachiko’s Excellent “Dislympia 2680” @ Hiroshima Panels – Maruki Museum
And the arty entertainment (with a deadly serious context) doesn’t stop here. The next poisoning “bon-bon au bon goût” for the French speaking Governor of Tokyo came from KAZAMA’s ‘disciple’ “Bon”-taro.
In a highly cynical way he created a new video work called “Innocent Tale of the sky” 2019, first shown in the Gallery αM, Tokyo. Because of the Olympics, Tokyo was under the siege of general contractors ゼネコン, famous for price-fixing agreements, and their cozy relationship with bureaucrats from the Tokyo government. The protagonist is continuously shouting in front of newly build skyscrapers: “still too much blue sky”. “You should construct the buildings much taller, higher, higher!”. C’est très bon!
Bontaro Dokuyama Plans for Tokyo 2019 Vol 1 Gallery aM
Exceptional Artistic Practice By DOKUYAMA Bontaro Inspires Deep Thoughts On Japanese Socio-Economic History
The list of artists critically challenging the notion of peaceful Olympic games could go on and on. Let me close with charming and extremely busy artist 小泉明郎 KOIZUMI Meiro’s latest work “AntiDream #2 (Torch Ritual Un-edited Version)” アンチドリーム#2 （無編集バージョン）2021. In a subtle manner we experience a stringent curatorial practice by the artist himself via social media and youtube. Thought-provoking, while the specter of the “Tokyo Olympiad 1940” hover over contemporary Tokyo 2021. Koizumi’s documentary characteristics have to de-coded, actualised, – as every day in Tokyo brings new, not expected, problems. Watch out. Trouble shooters during the Olympics will earn a lot of money.
AntiDream #2 (Torch Ritual Un-edited Version)”『アンチドリーム#2 （無編集バージョン） 』, 2021, 15 minutes x ４loop
Learn more via:
KOIZUMI Meiro wins 2017 Japanese Contemporary Art Transparency Prize
エスプリ・アーティスティック* 小泉明郎、丹羽良徳、折元 立身、グスタフ・クリムト、名古屋 覚
Esprit Artistique* KOIZUMI Meiro, NIWA Yoshinori, ORIMOTO Tatsumi, Gustav Klimt, NAGOYA Satoru (August 2019)
Dear Hibino-kun, in Koizumi’s video, you could have been appearing. How do you feel?
I’m writing to you because our artistic practice is also a matter of conscience. Implying critical conscientiousness.
In this regard, a big part of the artists’ community in Japan feels disappointed about you. Contemporary artist HIBINO Katsuhiko 日比野克彦, pro-actively supporting and endorsing the Tokyo Olympics 2020. Showing a lack of sensibility?
The first time I called you up for my arts section series in Japan’s most important newspaper, I felt happiness by introducing you to a wider, serious audience. During the interview I told you about “Greenpeace” and social conscience, but you couldn’t grasp the meaning. You had never heard about Greenpeace and thought I was talking about “green beans” 青豆. I asked you, how do you want to be named as a profession? Your reply: 芸能人. You didn’t mean entertainer, but “a human being with skills in the arts”. Which I liked as it referred to Beuys’ Soziale Plastik. The first printing editions of the Asahi (Shimbun) Newspaper had the following description about you:
日比野克彦さん(芸能人). A true collector’s item.
Then, all of a sudden, you intervened and the printing machines in the basement of the Asahi Shimbun Company had to stop because of you. Ha ha ha! Those were the analogue times. The trajectory of “a human being with skills in the arts” aka “artist”…
29 years passed, and I’m still shaking my head about the “Geidai-Butcho”, Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts in the Tokyo University of the Arts 東京芸術大学美術学部長, Director of the Gifu Prefectural Museum 岐阜県美術館館長 and Director of the Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto（CAMK）熊本市現代美術館館長.
When Corona’s over, let’s have a drink together, philosophize about Calcio and discuss the future about artistic practice in the context of Meta-ethics in our beloved country Japan.
Well, thx for your read. Mi raccomando Hibino-kun, stai in gamba.
Mario A 亜 真里男