November 29, 2016 - The National Museum of Art, Osaka - THE PLAY since 1967: beyond unknown currents
November 29, 2016

The National Museum of Art, Osaka

View of THE PLAY since 1967: beyond unknown currents, The National Museum of Art, Osaka, 2016. Photo: Kazuo Fukunaga.

THE PLAY since 1967: beyond unknown currents
October 22, 2016–January 15, 2017

The National Museum of Art, Osaka
4-2-55 Nakanoshima, Kita-ku
Osaka 530-0005
Japan
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–5pm,
Friday–Saturday 10am–8pm

T +81 6 6447 4680
F +81 6 6447 4698
kouhou@nmao.go.jp

www.nmao.go.jp
Facebook / Twitter

THE PLAY since 1967: beyond unknown currents
October 22, 2016–January 15, 2017

The National Museum of Art, Osaka
4-2-55 Nakanoshima, Kita-ku
Osaka 530-0005
Japan
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–5pm,
Friday–Saturday 10am–8pm

T +81 6 6447 4680
F +81 6 6447 4698
kouhou@nmao.go.jp

www.nmao.go.jp
Facebook / Twitter

It is with great pleasure that we present THE PLAY since 1967: beyond unknown currents, a solo exhibition featuring THE PLAY, a group that has been active in the Kansai region since 1967.

THE PLAY is an unrivaled group of artists who, instead of “making” things to last, have consistently devoted themselves to “experiences.” Since the group was founded, it has had a fluid membership, with more than 100 people taking part in various capacities over the years. At present, the group is made up of five people: Ikemizu Keiichi, Kobayashi Shinichi, Suzuki Yoshinobu, Nii Seiji, and Miki Tetsuo. For close to 50 years, THE PLAY has gathered together to lay out plans, make preparations, undertake actions, and report on their works. This exhibition, their first solo show ever to be held at a museum, surveys the group’s entire career through printed matter, documentary photographs and films, audio recordings, and life-size materials.

THE PLAY first became active in the late 1960s after the demise of the Yomiuri Independent Exhibition at a time when a wide range of avant-garde art was flourishing all over Japan and guerrilla-style street performances were all the rage. The majority of the group’s activities, which until the ’70s were referred to as “happening,” and subsequently as “actions,” “performances,” and “projects,” took place in natural areas on the outskirts of the city. These efforts easily transcended the scope of art that was being presented at venues like museums and galleries. THE PLAY’s activities, designed to step outside the boundaries of the art establishment, were both idyllic and highly critical. They received a great deal of attention in light of trends such as institutional critique and the “off-museum” movement.

It should also be pointed out, however, that while keeping abreast of artistic frameworks, THE PLAY’s range far exceeded its early efforts. The group constantly focused on universal human activities that were undertaken in nature. To them, seas, mountains, rivers, wind, and thunder were not merely environmental elements or phenomena, but manifestations of the long expanse of time that stretched from the past to the future. The group organized “actions” in natural settings that were not so far removed from their daily lives. They threw themselves into these situations and had extraordinary experiences. Then they brought these experiences back into their ordinary lives. This might be seen as the essence of THE PLAY’s activities. The group’s work, a continuous series of comings and goings carried out over a lengthy 49-year period, retains an undeniable intensity. THE PLAY is also notable for its tenacious temporal sensibility, as evidenced by a ten-year project to wait for thunder, and an attempt to “continue” floating downstream on a raft 40 years after the initial action. Their work is marked by an unwavering confidence in physical experience. Though the route might be circuitous, they opt for a hands-on approach to steadily accomplish what they set out to do. Today, an era in which new information is greatly valued and the flexibility to cope with rapidly changing trends highly prized, THE PLAY’s activities are tinged with a critical view that differs from that of the past.

Organized by the National Museum of Art, Osaka. Sponsored by Daikin Foundation for Contemporary Arts with the cooperation of Pola Art Foundation.

Press contact
Yoshiko Yamamoto: T +81 06 6447 4671 / F +81 06 6447 4698 / kouhou [​at​] nmao.go.jp

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