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End of War in the decade of the 2010s
Published: August 23 2012

Takao Hiyama

Ishu Han

Taihei Kimura

Shusuke Ao

Kazuki Umezawa Courtesy of CASHI

Shino Yanai

Seeking to investigate the history of nuclear power in Japan, I found myself reading Hiroshi Kainuma's "Fukushima Theory", which presents Japan's post-war period, its beginning marked by the atomic bombings, and present-day society after the power plant disaster, as one interlinked issue. As I read, two questions that would later spawn this exhibit crossed my mind.
The first was the question of looking at the 3.11 incident as having analogues to Japan's post-war environment. On Twitter feeds, the workers at the plant who risked their lives to stem the disaster were likened to "suicide squads". Moreover, rainfall after the accident was called "Black Rain", hearkening to the word used after Hiroshima. Coverage on the old media, which ignored the ongoing demonstrations and complaints that the government had covered up the core meltdown, was criticized as "announcements from Imperial General Headquarters" - referring to the grossly understated, face-saving official announcements made as Japan's defeat worsened in WWII. The tremendous spirit of cooperation and nationwide power conservation praised in overseas media as Japanese virtues resembled, if nothing else, the "total mobilization" posture of wartime Japan. Further, alarmed voices proclaimed 3.11 to be a "major turning point" for human history and the end of modern civilization, debating the "intellectual terror" of the occasion and "overcoming modernity" (the name given 1942 symposium) just as pre-war intellectuals had done. Why, I wondered, was wartime language being revived and analogized to these events? Was there a deeper connection that went beyond surface similarities?
The second question involved art critic Noi Sawaragi and his ideas about post-war art, begun in the 1990s, that predate "Fukushima Theory". Sawaragi's aim is to rethink the foundations of post-war Japanese art from the point of view of Japan's atomic defeat. His self-curated "Japan: Year Zero" exhibit used artworks to explore in what ways Japan's atomic defeat was being recapitulated in contemporary art, seeking to reset the Japanese art world and wake it up from what he called "the bad place", an oblivion where history is forgotten and superficial forms are endlessly repeated. Today, as we face 10 years' passing since "Year Zero", have we no choice but to take that issue seriously and head-on, resisting Japanese historical amnesia? Have we no choice but to put ourselves on the chopping block of criticism, creating works that rethink the way war - the very signpost of the end of modern art and the beginning of contemporary art - is depicted? This exhibit was born from that concern: the question of how to depict and put into practice the issue of the overlap between 3.11 and post-war art.
The exhibit takes the premises above to present two contrasting types of works. The paintings of Takao Hiyama, who served as a soldier in the Pacific War, was interned in Siberia, then transferred to a detainment center for war criminals in China, are contrasted against works mainly about 3.11, produced by five young artists born in the 1980s, by which time memories of the war had already begun to fade.
The basic idea for the exhibit came together in early July. Over the following month's time, it was prepared with the warm support of many people. I realize, of course, that this theme demands a longer prep period and a larger scale; however, I came to the decision that even in its current state, this project has a significance that far surpasses its scale. By launching it, unfinished or not, I intend for the exhibit to serve as a means to refine the questions at issue and deepen my future research and practice of the subject. I take full responsibility as curator for what you see here.
If you, as a visitor to this exhibit, provide vital criticism and make this a space to debate the issues further, I will consider it to have been a total success.

Yohsuke Takahashi

Yohsuke Takahashi(b.1985, Tokyo)
2012 MA Inter Media Art, Tokyo University of Arts educator of Aomori Museum of Art(2012-)/ associate curator of Hyper Archipelago(GYRE Omotesando/ Aomori Museum of Art, 2012), etc.

Shusuke Ao(b.1981, Ibaraki)
2004 BA Japanese painting, Tama Art University selected solo exhibition:
TRIAL, Museum of Aeronautical Sciences, Chiba, 2011 selected group exhibition:
Gateway Japan, Torrance Art Museum, CA, 2011 Art and Air, Aomori Museum of Art, Aomori, 2012

Kazuki Umezawa(b.1985, Saitama)
2008 BA Imaging Arts and Sciences, Musashino Art University selected solo exhibition:
The Ground, Water And Ownerless Property Core, CASHI, Tokyo, 2012 selected group exhibition:
CHAOS*LOUNGE 2010, Takahashi Collection Hibiya, Tokyo, 2010 Hametsu*LOUNGE, NANZUKA UNDERGROUND, Tokyo, 2010

Taihei Kimura(b.1986, Saitama)
2012 MA Inter Media Art, Tokyo University of Arts selected group exhibition:
ν romancer, group exhibition, islandMEDIUM, Tokyo, 2011

Ishu Han(b.1987, Shanghai)
2012 MA Inter Media Art, Tokyo University of Arts selected solo exhibition:
Form of Sea, Kyoto Art Center, Kyoto, 2012 selected group exhibition:
No Man\'s Land, The French Embassy in Japan, Tokyo, 2009 Local to Local, Busan, Korea, 2010

Shino Yanai(b.1979, Nara)
2002 BA Instrumental Music(Piano), Kobe College
2010 MA Japanese Painting, Tama Art University
2012 MA Inter Media Art, Tokyo University of Arts selected solo exhibition:
Memory and Record, Gallery Q, Tokyo, 2008 selected group exhibition:
NIHONGA: New Traditions, Dillon Gallery NY, 2010 Art Award Tokyo Marunouchi 2012, Gyoko-dori Underground Gallery, Tokyo, 2012, Yuka Uematsu Prize(Curator, The National Museum of Art, Osaka)

Takao Hiyama(1920-88)
born in 1920, Hiroshima. joined the army and stayed in China, 1941-45. Detained in Siberia and Fushun War Criminals Management Centre in China until 1956. After back in Japan, Hiyama made a lot of paintings based in his war experience. died in 1988.

Opening Reception: August 15, 6PM-8PM

会期:August 15 - September 1
時間:12:00 - 19:00
Last Updated on August 15 2012

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