|In the Little Playground: Hitsuda Nobuya and his surrounding students|
|Written by Satoshi KOGANEZAWA|
|Published: November 04 2009|
The exhibition entitled “In the Little Playground: Hitsuda Nobuya and his surrounding students” is held jointly with the Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, Nagoya and the Nagoya City Art Museum as a preliminary event of “Aichi Triennale 2010” which will be held in the next year. In this exhibition, we can enjoy looking at creations by Nobuya Hitsuda, who taught at Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts and Music from 1975 to 2001, and his nineteen students. Hitsuda was born in Tokyo and graduated not from Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts and Music but from Tokyo University of the Arts. Nevertheless, this exhibition can be said to be one of really innovative and worthwhile seeing modern art exhibitions which are held using museums as venues in that it was planned focusing on the relationship between the teacher and his students and using an educational institution which is located in the host prefecture of “Aichi Triennale 2010” as its venue. By the way, in the Nagoya City Art Museum, there are only thirteen exhibits are shown using a permanent exhibition room. Therefore, in this article, I would like to write briefly about the characteristics of this exhibition emphasizing the creations which are displayed in the Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, Nagoya.
View from the exhibition "In the Little Playground: Hitsuda Nobuya and his surrounding students", courtesy of Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, Nagoya
In the first corner of the venue, there are Hitsuda’s works which were created from early to recent years. Going through the next exhibition room which duplicates Hitsuda’s atelier, we find the creations by his nineteen students. Let me introduce their names as follows: Yoshitomo Nara, Takanobu Kobayashi, Tamami Hitsuda, Hiroshi Sugito, Kyoko Murase, Go Watanabe, Shin Morikita, Nobuhiko Nukata, Masako Ando, Michika Kimura, Hideto Kato, Tamotsu Kido, Shigeru Hasegawa, Kohei Kobayashi, Tomoaki Shitara, Hirofumi Toyama, Atsushi Furukusa, Katsuhisa Sato and Mika Kato. In this exhibition room, we can enjoy their works, which have been made since their school days, together with Hitsuda’s creations. The next room shows only the students’ recent artworks. Here, it would be noteworthy that this exhibition provides us with an opportunity to see both Hitsuda’s works and those of his students in the same space.
I have already mentioned that it is novel to hold a contemporary art exhibition under the theme of the relationship between a teacher and his/her students. This thought is based on my recognition that modern artists are rarely described from a historical viewpoint unless each artist has some history of his/her creative activities or has been creating works according to a certain theme (eg. “war”, “otaku (nerd)” and others). In other words, in the field of contemporary art, it is really uncommon that artists or their works are described in terms of the relationship between master and his/her apprentice, which is considered to be usual in the area of art-historical methodology. I have never heard of an exhibition which is held with the aim of recognizing a transition of works from the viewpoint of the relationship between an artist who created the works and his/her master, even though they are well-known creators. Above all, this may be due to the fact that it is quite rare for modern artists to carry on styles which have been established by their masters, which is completely different trend to that of schools of the era before early modern ages, such as the Kano and Tosa school. It cannot be said for sure but particularly in the modern art field, in which artists are required to have their “oliginalities”, artists must tend to avoid adhering to their masters’ methods (I suppose the custom in the field of traditional craft would be different to that of contemporary art). In fact, in the field of modern art, the tradition of “schools”, such as the Kano and Tosa school as mentioned above, which exist independently of professional education institutions, disappeared in the far distant past and “having a difference to other artists” seems to be considered to ensure each artist’s personality. Therefore, it might to be extremely uncommon attempt to hold such a kind of show as this exhibition. Needless to say, in some group exhibitions which are held at universities, creations by a teacher and those by his/her students are displayed in the same space, and sometimes commemorative exhibitions are held jointly with a retired professor and his/her students. Nevertheless, I suppose there are differences between these exhibition and “In the Little Playground” in that the latter is held using the museum which has a larger space than that of university and based on academic grounds to depict a certain history through the relationship between the teacher and his students.
Nonetheless, it is impossible to find Hitsuda’s works had some impacts on a certain student’s creation though they are displayed in the same exhibition room. Indeed, in the essay in the catalogue of this exhibition, Fumiko Nakamura, the curator of the Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, Nagoya, mentioned some significant aspects in considering the relationship between Hitsuda and his students, such as the locational characteristics of Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts and Music in Nagakute located in a rural area in Aichi Prefecture which is isolated from the main stream of art, and Hitsuda’s own educational perspective which does not follow the fashion of the day,*1 there is no explanation of a certain exhibit. In this exhibition, we can find the development of a certain student or some students’ memories of Hitsuda in their exhibits which have been created since their school days. These things do not always show academic perspectives which contribute to making it possible to refer to each exhibit specifically. Nevertheless, it should be noted that we can realize the rich and varied relationship between Hitsuda and his students in the venue. Indeed, displaying Hitsuda’s works and those of his students together in the same room may make you conscious of some difference between the former who has already established his style and the latter who have not yet. Nonetheless, there cannot be found any hierarchical relationship between them. The exhibits which are displayed in the same space seem to allow us to enjoy them straightforward. This would lead to our absolute affirmation of “drawing” or “creating” as well as that of the works which were completed as the result. In fact, not all of the creations made by Hitsuda and his students give us positive and energetic impressions, but they still continue to create works. Therefore, the exhibits are filled with hope.
|Last Updated on November 02 2015|
I would like to write in detail about this exhibition in a few days. Here, therefore, let me introduce briefly this well composed exhibition which is of a type rarely seen in recent years. In this exhibition, you can enjoy looking at creations by Nobuya Hitsuda, who taught at Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts and Music from 1975 to 2001, and his nineteen students. Needless to say, the relationship between Hitsuda and the students is not that of a master to his apprentices. Nonetheless, from an art-historical perspective, this exhibition is, in fact, held using a “school” as an axis to clarify a certain process. I would like to commend this exhibition in that it has succeeded in focusing on living artists from a historical viewpoint. Reading the above, you may feel this exhibition creates a serious image. Nevertheless, as shown clearly in the printed materials of this exhibition, such as its poster, its basic concept is to make viewers enjoy looking at the exhibits. Some of Hitsuda’s works are displayed next to pieces created by his students, including Yoshitomo Nara, Hiroshi Sugito and Yoshika Kato, which evokes for us a feeling of happiness in that all these works connect and sympathize with each other. I am sorry for writing at length about this exhibition when I intended to introduce it briefly. Were you able to grasp the great significance of this exhibition through this article? (Translated by Nozomi Nakayama)