Things Entangling, a Collaboration between MOT and KADIST
MOT – Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Tokyo
June 09 – September 27, 2020
The Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo and KADIST present the exhibition “Things Entangling”, the culmination of a major, long-term curatorial collaboration. Trees, fossils, books, artifacts – these are some of our companions as we live in and make sense of the world. They are protagonists in our reconstructions of the past and constructions of the present, as both individual and societies. They may create their own meaning through their own agency, or gain it from our use and circulation of them – even our discarding of them. They have the ability to configure social realities, cultural identities, and human subjectivities.
Against a global context of challenging ecological and sociopolitical changes, this exhibition features artworks that trace and animate the trajectories, nexuses, and mutations of things, in which realities and histories collide and reverberate continuously. These things entangling are not framed as fixed but as always in process. They might be material objects or living subjects, but they are always also mediators of meaning, ideology, and value. From installation to video, photography, and collage, the artworks effectively make silent things speak thanks to new assemblages that unearth hidden histories of the subordinated, follow nature’s evolutions under the brutal circumstances of capitalism, imagine the repatriation of cultural heritage, and decipher the unfulfilled aspirations underlying historical and contemporary dislocations. They show how artistic manipulations can reveal the permeability of things as well as their aesthetic and mediating potential.
When the twelve invited artists invoke anthropology, archaeology, or historiography to seek rootedness or to probe resonances with specific moments and places, they aim less to excavate or clarify the past than to open up a new politics of interpretation for building the present. Haunted by different time spans and territories, positions and subjectivities, they explore what is channeled through and mediated by entities around us in order to unravel the apparatuses of our societies and cultures. They also examine how these apparatuses are transformed by various forces, including energies of nature, human interest, and abiding beliefs.
Via speculation and imagination, “Things Entangling“ draws our attention to the hidden lives of things and their multifaceted interactions, and explores how reconstructing, animating, or restoring their agency could prompt us to revisit or even reposition ourselves in our current society and environment, facing as we do unprecedented natural and human-made crises. Longing for desirable futures, the artists aim to reveal unexpected intersections, elusive networks, and fleeting affinities between things. Through their work they aspire to open up the closed circles, exclusive territories, and static systems that are around and also within us.
KADIST believes contemporary artists make an important contribution to a progressive society by addressing through their work the key issues of our time. As a non-profit organization dedicated to exhibiting the work of artists represented in its collection, KADIST encourages this engagement and affirms contemporary art’s relevance within social discourse. Its programs develop collaborations with artists, curators and many art organizations around the world, facilitating new connections across cultures. Local programs in KADIST’s hubs of Paris and San Francisco include exhibitions, public events, residencies and educational initiatives. Complemented by an active online network, they aim at creating vibrant conversations about contemporary art and ideas.
“Things Entangling” is the last step of a curatorial collaboration between the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo and KADIST. Initiated in 2016, this collaboration unfolds across a series of three exhibitions based on artistic forms of engagement in contemporary society. After a first group exhibition entitled “Almost nothing, yet not nothing”, presented at the Tokyo University for the Arts as part of “MOT Satellite” project in October-November 2017 and “Les nucléaires et les choses”, a solo exhibition by Hikaru Fujii which took place at KADIST, Paris in May-July 2019, this final international exhibition will bring together new works as well as works from the two collections.