September 17, 2019 - frei_raum Q21 exhibition space/MuseumsQuartier Wien - Japan Unlimited
September 17, 2019

frei_raum Q21 exhibition space/MuseumsQuartier Wien

Chim↑Pom, Superrat, 2006, 2011-ongoing. Taxidermied and painted rat. Photo: Yoshimitsu Umekawa. Courtesy of the artists, ANOMALY and MUJIN-TO Production. © Chim↑Pom.

Japan Unlimited
September 26–November 24, 2019

Opening: September 25, 7pm

frei_raum Q21 exhibition space/MuseumsQuartier Wien
Museumsplatz 1
1070 Vienna
Austria
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 1–4pm,
Tuesday–Sunday 4:30–8pm

T +43 1 5235881
office@mqw.at

www.Q21.at
Facebook

Japan Unlimited
September 26–November 24, 2019

Opening: September 25, 7pm

frei_raum Q21 exhibition space/MuseumsQuartier Wien
Museumsplatz 1
1070 Vienna
Austria
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 1–4pm,
Tuesday–Sunday 4:30–8pm

T +43 1 5235881
office@mqw.at

www.Q21.at
Facebook

Curated by Marcello Farabegoli

On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Austria and Japan, the exhibition Japan Unlimited will feature some of the most prominent and active artists from Japan who confront the limits and freedoms of political-sociocritical art. 

Referring to two concepts that shape Japanese society and signify its characteristic codes of behaviour—"Tatemae" ("masquerade," that which meets the expectations of the public) and "Honne" (the feelings hidden from the public)—the exhibition examines in what form this dual principle plays a role in contemporary Japanese art. "Tatemae" and "Honne" govern the relationship between community and the individual and define the co-existence across particular codes of conduct, laws, traditions and conventions. At the same time, they mirror aesthetic questions that reflect the relationship between form and content, reality and representation, criticism and affirmation. The exhibition explores the question of what poetic practices, subtexts and metaphors arise from this tension between social conflict avoidance and criticism. 

On October 21, 2008, the artist collective Chim↑Pom chartered a small plane to skywrite the word "Pika" (flashlight) over the city of Hiroshima as part of their artistic intervention Making the sky of Hiroshima ‘PIKA!'. In Japan, the word "Pika" also refers to the atomic bomb explosion over Hiroshima. The action led to protests from atomic bomb survivors. Despite the profuse apologies offered by the artist collective, a planned museum exhibition was cancelled. Chim↑Pom visualise "Tatemae" structures as mechanisms of indirect forms of governance. 

In his work The video of a man calling himself Japan's Prime Minister making a speech at an international assembly, Makoto Aida appears as the fictitious Japanese Prime Minister, delivering a speech in broken English. Although his performance is entirely fictitious, Makota Aida appears to be parodying Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. While addressing political practises between national isolation and imperial aggression, Makoto Aida visualises the principles of "Tatemae" and "Honne" in the context of political farce.

BuBu de la Madeleine & Yoshiko Shimada reconstruct a photograph of the Japanese Emperor Hirohito and the American General Douglas MacArthur in a collage from their series "Made in Occupied Japan." MacArthur's staff worked on the first draft of the Japanese constitution, brought into force in 1947, in which denied the Emperor's status of a "God." In their re-enactment, the two artists remove categorisations of man/woman, USA/Japan, perpetrator/victim. The heart surrounding the photograph, however, alludes to the close economic and military relations between Japan and the USA, to the related dependencies, power relations and unwritten laws, whose post-war mythological masquerades are still effective today.

Momoyo Torimitsus's animation Business as Habitual is based on a photograph taken at the first appearance of the CEOs of Tepco (Tokyo Electric Power Company) following the Fukushima nuclear disaster. It shows how the managers of Tepco apologised to the people of Japan. Momoyo Torimitsu explores the gesture of apologising through bowing, which reflects social status and demonstrates respect. The gesture, however, does not say anything about whether regret is in fact present. Here "Tatemae" was employed as a marketing strategy in order to avoid taking responsibility.

Artists:
Makoto Aida (JPN), Chim↑Pom (JPN)*, Gianmaria Gava (ITA/AUT), Edgar Honetschläger (AUT), Sachiko Kazama (JPN), BuBu de la Madeleine (JPN) & Yoshiko Shimada (JPN), Midori Mitamura* (JPN), Ryts Monet (ITA/AUT), Yoshinori Niwa* (JPN), Jake Knight (GBR), Tomoko Sawada (JPN), Sputniko! (JPN/GBR), Ryudai Takano (JPN), Shinpei Takeda* (JPN), Momoyo Torimitsu (JPN), Hana Usui (JPN/AUT), Tomoko Yoneda (JPN), Naoko Yoshimoto (JPN)

*Q21/MQ Artist-in-Residence

Japan Unlimited is organised in cooperation with the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs and is an official event of "150 years of Friendship between Austria and Japan," initiated by the Japanese Embassy in Vienna.

Director MuseumsQuartier Wien: Christian Strasser

Enquiries:
Press, Irene Preissler, ipreissler [​at​] mqw.at
Artistic Director, Elisabeth Hajek, ehajek [​at​] mqw.at

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