STARS: Six Contemporary Artists from Japan to the World
Mori Art Museum, Tokyo
July 31, 2020 – January 03, 2021
STARS combines an emphasis on immersive large-scale installations and powerful video works, with archival displays, offering insight into the history of Japanese contemporary art and the careers of individual artists, stimulating the viewer’s senses and thirst for knowledge. The exhibition offers a close-up experience of the kind unique to contemporary art, made possible by the immediacy of the museum setting.
The decades of postwar economic growth were punctuated in Japan by a series of national events including the Olympics and World Expo, as the country began to turn its gaze outward once more. In the contemporary art world, the period was characterized by debates on decolonization and multiculturalism, and the proliferation of new contemporary art settings, such as biennials and art fairs.
For this exhibition, we have chosen six artists (YAYOI KUSAMA, LEE UFAN, TATSUO MIYAJIMA, TAKASHI MURAKAMI, YOSHITOMO NARA, HIROSHI SUGIMOTO) whose careers propelled them beyond the confines of Japan during this period, earning them high acclaim today around the world, and across generations, and will trace the journey of these artists from their earliest to the latest works. STARS explores how the practice of each artist has been evaluated in the global context, and touch upon these artists’ pursuit of universal issues transcending nationality and culture; traditions and aesthetics; technology and subculture, while keeping in mind aspects of social, cultural and economic background unique and particular to Japan. The exhibition also presents archival materials related to the major Japanese contemporary art shows staged internationally from the 1950s to the present, examining the bases for evaluating art and the historical lineage of exhibitions down the decades.
Fast-forward to 2020, we now have the world thrown into turmoil by the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting the vulnerability of our social and economic structures. At this moment in history, as well as raising some fundamental questions about the essential role of art, how we define artistic success, and where we might find the “world” we seek, the output of these six top artists will doubtless offer some powerful messages suffused with inspiration for the post-corona age.