The “Contemporary Japanese Sculpture Exhibition” started in 1965 and will celebrate 14 times this year. Four years before the start of the first exhibition, the “Ube City Open-air Sculpture Exhibition” was held in 1961, and the “1st National Sculpture Competition Application Exhibition” was held in 1963 at Tokiwa Park, Ube City. When it comes to the early days of outdoor exhibitions, we cannot help thinking about the two. I participated in the outdoor exhibition from the “1st National Sculpture Competition Application Exhibition”, and I would like to look back on those days as an exhibitor.
In the foreword of the catalog 28 years ago, there is the words of Professor Sadaichi Hijikata and the following passage in the middle. “Participating artists must have had to reflect on the nature of the sculpture that was placed outdoors in this natural environment, and reflect on the natural and spiritual environment of the sculpture. It’s no exaggeration to say that the first step for experimentation and advancement started here.” Professor’s words have high expectations for us as applicants and exhibitors, and the direction of the outdoor exhibition I was also suggested, and now I feel like hearing it again.
A sense of trust and a close sense of unity between the exhibitor, Ube City, the Japan Museum Planning Council, Mainichi Shimbun, and the co-sponsored Ube Industries, Ltd. Is.
Sculpture symposiums have been held from around 1960 in various parts of Europe, such as Yugoslavia, Austria, West Berlin, and Israel. Before that, there was an outdoor exhibition of Spolette in the Antwerp Biennale and Northern Italy, and there was a situation overseas where the “Ube City Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition” was held as the first in Japan. Anyway, I wonder why it’s Ube, but I don’t know the details of it, but I think that it is because of its open-minded, open-minded citizenship. Mr. Hijikata, Mayor Hoshide Ube, Mayor Iwashiro Ube City Library, Yoshitatsu Yanagihara and Ryokichi Mukai of the sculpture world were carefully prepared by the enthusiasm of Ms. Ueda, and they came to the event.
Around this time, in 1963, the “International Stone Carving Symposium” was held in Manazuru in the summer by the Asahi Shimbun. Excuse me, but in the spring of this year, I returned to Japan after completing a two-year tour of Paris. For nine months before returning to Japan, I worked with a few friends and a foreign part-time job under the sculptor François Starry. His job is to create the prototype of an abstract fountain sculpture that he won in an American competition. I heard it will be in San Francisco. This labor was tough, but I had no experience with Starry’s consideration of outdoor sculptures, and I raised various problems. It could be said that I was lucky to have a physical strength here and to open an outdoor sculpture exhibition in Japan the year I returned to Japan.
I was 36 years old. Spring, return to Japan, summer, visit Manazuru’s symposium, and apply for “National Sculpture Competition Application Exhibition” in Ube in autumn. Before I went to France, it was a job I started from scratch in Japan for figurative sculpture.
The following people from overseas participate in the “International Stone Carving Symposium”.
It is Lipsy, Signorie, Couturier, Cardinas, Ponce, Baumann, etc. From Japan, Shin Hongo, Shin Nomizu, Takeshiro Mori, Yasuo Mizui, Kentaro Kimura and Minoru Suzuki.
The significance of this symposium was not to have a chat at a party but to have a life as an artist by carving stones and to have a close relationship with each other. It wasn’t just the people who were recognized as stone carvers, so I was strongly inspired by this symposium that a sculptor could do anything with stone, wood and metal.
Explaining “Nationwide Sculpture Competition Application Exhibition”, except for invited artists, exhibitors are in their late 20s to 40s age group. Most of the 13th exhibition last year was independent, but at that time, there were about twice as many people who belonged to groups such as Nikka Exhibition, New Production Exhibition, and Free Art Exhibition. It is not enough to protect the traditional concept of sculpture, but it can be said that it is the middle class who is hesitant to devote himself to the cutting-edge art movement. This age is also the generation where it became possible to make things by yourself, knowing the basic know-how of sculpture. I am willing to bet myself as a writer outside the group exhibition, and while belonging, I will get to know the artists of other groups and independent artists across the frame.
Most of the works selected at that time are around 2 meters, and there is a slight feeling. The modest thing was the life of most people of this generation, and he did not have the talent to make an order from a factory, and he did the handwork by himself. The only request was the desire and physical strength to build for the outdoors. That’s why I was thankful for the prize money regardless of how much I was, and he gave me a meditation that could help me with my next job. The workplace moves from the backyard of my home to the stone yard, and then to the factory, but as an important point in my career as an artist, there is the “National Sculpture Competition Application Exhibition”. That is Ube, and it is vivid as I remember various things even now.
It was part of the outdoor exhibition that abstract sculpture became accepted by Japanese society. Thirty years after the “Ube City Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition”, today, you can see sculptures somewhere in the city. Besides the monuments and statues, sculptures emerged from the museums and galleries into the city. The fact that there are more abstractions than concrete ones cannot be overlooked as post-war Japanese urban spaces have transformed and developed into cities suitable for abstract expression.
When I started exhibiting at an outdoor exhibition, I did architectural sculpture as a group, but I didn’t feel like going out there. I couldn’t find a contact with what I wanted to make. At that time, I was satisfied just by putting the sculpture outside. It was because I was exposed to various molding problems. They are not of the character that they found them and ended up with them. It is something that is actually made repeatedly. Maybe it’s my problem because I don’t know what I’m thinking.
From the start of outdoor sculpture, the atelier became a place of trial and error to put together ideas, and the actual workplace became a stone quarry and a factory. Working as a mason while watching the pile of quarry and learning the technique of handling metal at the factory, as a beginner, this was a moving wonder to the unknown world. I was overwhelmed by the realism of the stone quarry, and I was overwhelmed by the feeling of the material of the metal. Efficiency and profitability are legitimate, but as they are, they may be unfairly treated as art. It seems that people are asking “what is art” from a direction that I had never thought of when I was the only workplace, and I have no choice but to think about it.
Professor Noriaki Kawakita wrote “On Contemporary Japanese Sculpture” in the 13th exhibition catalog. This is a description of the transformation of the art world in the quarter century, and I will publish a part of it in addition to the first teacher Hijikata.
“Today’s art does not easily connect to the old, self-contained works of the style of creating charm, and so to speak, it can be said that it is in a discontinuous type or in disjointed parts type. In that sense, the more original and individual the work, the more socially it must be considered that an editor, commentator, and coordinator in some sense are needed. In this sense, contemporary art is complemented only after waiting for the hands of editors, commentators, critics, and coordinators outside such works, such as museums, exhibition planners, local governments, companies, and so on. It has become. From this point of view, contemporary art is spreading as extremely diverse and arbitrary discontinuous sensory information. It may be that he is walking with a deeply admiring gaze toward a continuous system that has left a long distance, while becoming increasingly diverse and fragmented. On the other hand, it seems that there is an inevitable craving for creative power and talent that embody the “beauty of exhibition”. “
This is I thought the larger fresh in our memory how because it is speech of the 13th Exhibition, is the wanted together to read superimposed on the Preface of 28 years ago, Hijikata teacher. It is not only works that are diversified and fragmented, but the situation surrounding writers is also the same, and the roles and reasons for existence, including critics, local governments, and companies, have become clear. I think the conditions were the same for Ube’s first outdoor exhibition, but I haven’t been conscious of it so far. Sometimes we make sculptures upon request, but the artist does not always make things according to the project, so we will continue to stick to a wider variety and unique world than now. Even if the “exhibition beauty” is embodied, the artist wants a generosity that allows an environment that keeps each and every one of the worlds in mind. The mechanism surrounding the art and the artist are the points of contact for mutual recognition. I think the distance is necessary.
(Professor of sculptor Nihon University)