Ube City has the face of “sculpture”. Ube City is one of the few personality cities when the cities, towns and villages throughout the country are averaging. Exactly 30 years have passed since sculpture became the face of the city, and at the same time, the milestone coincided with the memorial year of Ube City, 70 years. 30 years in 70 years. Even from the quantitative ratio, it can be easily imagined by the younger generation who was born afterwards how the weight of outdoor sculpture in the local city of Ube was great. Perhaps few citizens argue that Ube City’s face is a sculpture.
When foreign art officials and people in urban development came to Japan to find out about the current state of the sculpture world in Japan, I decided not to hesitate to say, “It’s only a picture of a thousand words. Go to Ube.” The reaction at that time is usually surprising to see nearly 100 public sculptures shining all over the city in a local city with a population of less than 200,000. Ube is one of the few rare cities in the world, and of course its disadvantages can be seen. You can also see the sculpture situation of the city. However, it is still a mecca for understanding the good categories of Japanese cities at a glance. Most of the abilities and levels of Japanese sculptors are found here. A model of know-how of city planning including history, such as public appreciation of citizens who accept, familiarize, and criticize it, or the ability of city planning promoters and cultural administration with a focus on sculpture. Is full of. The word “oldness and revitalization” can be heard in an obsolete way, but it is not the traditional method of town development such as hot springs, souvenirs and resort development, but “art” has been the key to “creation” for 30 years. There is no other place that has become a ward except Ube City.
It was in 1961 that Ube citizens first came into contact with what seemed to be sculpture. This year, the first full-scale outdoor sculpture exhibition in Japan, “Ube City Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition”, was held. Two years later, in 1963, the “National Sculpture Competition Application Exhibition” was held, and two years later, in 1965, the 1st exhibition, which has been popular under the name “Contemporary Japanese Sculpture Exhibition”, is held. Starting every other year, Ube City became known as the origin of outdoor sculpture. And this year, it will be the 30th anniversary of the “14th Exhibition”.
Since then, the sculptors representing Japan have grown up from here. Experiments on various expressions and materials were tried in Ube City. There were times when the artists had a dream to exhibit at a contemporary Japanese sculpture exhibition.
I’m afraid to touch on private matters, but I also think that Ube City is my second home. This is because my relationship with this sculpture exhibition began with the “National Sculpture Competition Application Exhibition” in 1963. Since I was a newspaper reporter on the side of the organizer, I always visited Ube City once every two years to write feature articles and serial articles. And while witnessing the progress of “Ube, the sculpture city” in detail, it can be said that most of the sense as an art journalist was brought up in Ube City. Even when the theme of this time was decided to be “Sanka Ube” at the seat of the steering committee, I was able to convince it easily.
Many of the images of the bettors betting on this sculpture show disappeared like a running light. Sadakazu Hijikata, who was also a planner and passionate promoter of this sculpture exhibition, and Jiro Iwaki (deceased), who was the local municipal library director, and the mayor at that time who was supported by a smart administrative sense. Mr. Toshio Hoshiide (deceased), and Yoshie Ueda (at that time, Chairman of the Women’s Problem Countermeasures Council, currently Chairman of the Greening Movement Promotion Committee), who is still keenly able to tell the significance of this sculpture exhibition and the contents of art .. Or sculptors Ryokichi Mukai, Yoshitatsu Yanagihara, architect Masato Otaka, etc. who were driven by bulldozers on the lawn hill of Tokiwa Park. Meanwhile, the mayor counts the fifth generation from Mayor Hoshide to Takeichi Nishida (deceased), Keiji Nitta, Hideo Futaki, and Mayor Katsuto Nakamura. What I can’t forget was Brother Aihara and the people in the Park and Greenery Division who took over the responsibility of this sculpture exhibition as the Secretary General who passed on to the second generation. Thirty years ago, the passion of those people who have been bet on this sculpture exhibition will be transmitted to me with enthusiasm. Every time, I was always instructed to learn that urban development is about human development.
Just before the start of this sculpture exhibition, Ube City was synonymous with “town of soot”. Without my memory difference, the amount of gin in Ube city at that time would have exceeded 50 tons per square kilometer per month and would have been the worst stigma of air pollution among cities in Japan. Perhaps the younger generation cannot imagine such a past from today’s favorable environment in Ube City. Their enthusiasm for greening wiped out the stigma in such adversity. The fact that the “greenery movement full of flowers” is inseparably linked to the artistic heart and the revitalization of the urban space was undeniably difficult, but at the end it was moving.
Needless to say, “town planning by sculpture” has become a common sense in many cities. From time to time, I often receive consultations about Know How, but in such cases, I always answer by referring to the example of Ube City.
”The enthusiasm of the administrator and the development of people are the most important thing. The venue of the sculpture exhibition in Ube is cleaned by many disabled and disabled people every year. “Everyone can come to parliament until a break and take on the role of hosting the efforts of the artists. Can your city understand and consensus on such sculptures?”
Most government officials are amazed at how simple they are, and it’s the mountains of Seki that make them smile with a smile.
Ube, a town where people can walk happily, has become a sculpture base for sculpture cities, with various key words for creating such human-made towns and public landscape planning. For example, a person who got off Ube Airport, the gateway to the sky in Ube City, may have had the feeling that a refreshing breeze blew through it. Nobuyoshi Iwaki’s “Wind Score” (Grand Prize of the 10th exhibition) is right in front of you. Four white granite columns curl from the ground, snuggling up and down, with their round cross-sections facing the sun. It symbolizes the healthy public spirit of Ube citizens. Once you enter the city and go down from the front of the city hall along the Manikawa River, there is a strange abstract sculpture “WIG･A”. This is a sculpture by Kyuhei Shimizu, Ube Industries Prize for the 8th exhibition. “WIG” is a wig. I feel that the residents, the humor, and the pride of the people living here are crowned with pride. The brilliant sculpture shining beside the entrance of the Cultural Center is Minami Tada’s “dipole” (7th Ube Industries Award). Dazzling with the reflection of sunlight. The transparency of the tempered glass makes us feel the dazzling future of children. When you enter Sakurayama to the east of Tokiwa Park where the swan floats, Takeuchi Tsuchiya’s “Small Pyramid” (6th prize). There is a pyramid on the iron plates on both sides of the stone carving, and it looks as if a cultural property that was sleeping deep in the ground was excavated. In the scented forest of the same park, Toshiyuki Mogami’s sculpture “Ittemyyouanoyomade” (7th Mainichi Newspaper Award). The top of a huge natural stone is hollowed out into a cylindrical shape, and its head is protruding into the air. It’s a humorous form that I want to say that I was surprised at the brain.
It’s the space that these sculptures stimulate that makes me feel as I walk through this town. Some permeate something with a dull feeling. Something comes back. Ups and downs of the earth, sound of wind, light, water, air quality…. What I’ve forgotten makes me shake again. The cheerfulness rises. Tickle psychological tension and adventurous spirit. At times like this, people are conscious of “places” and spaces in the city that get farther and closer. The flowing space touches the skin, and the sight regains freshness. It can be said that this is the moment when the sculpture scenics the cityscape.
This does not mean that the town of Ube is a perfect modern city. It has awful architecture and many townscapes are hard to see. But cities are moving. Various places die and are revived. A “place” is a lively and lonesome thing. It will be cheerful and dark at the same time. I want to find out the past and want to anticipate the future. But the choice between the two will mislead the city and kill the place. Will average out. At such a time, the seemingly useless obstacle (art) called sculpture should be activated lively by interrupting between two alternatives. We have a slight navel bend, so there are some places where we find such a banacular space.
It will soon reach 21C. The outdoor sculptures that pop out from the museum’s museum should not only serve as a scenic view of the cityscape, but also become an adhesive for the 21C urban community itself. It will serve as a paradigm for the community. Today, sculpture seems to be in transition as well as the Japanese city itself. Gone are the days when abstraction and concreteness were good. In essence, what arts bring out depends on how “places” are activated and people’s feelings become fluid. A city cannot live simply by giving priority to the hardware that builds the cultural center and halls. Creating a “place” that resembles a fluid festival space will revitalize the city.
Ube celebrated 70 years of municipal administration. It is also the year when we are asked to create a new city. At the 14th Contemporary Japanese Sculpture Exhibition, 10 invited artists were rejuvenated every year, and the number of writers in the open recruitment section was increased to 15 from the usual year. It can also be seen as a desire to create a different city. Artists are also being questioned. Citizens are also being questioned.
(Director, Saitama Museum of Modern Art)