The 18th Contemporary Japanese Sculpture Exhibition

Competition and Urban Beauty

Masayoshi Homma

To reiterate, this “Contemporary Japanese Sculpture Exhibition” started about 40 years ago, and of course it was the first outdoor sculpture competition. Furthermore, I think that it was the first time in Japan to start making urban beauty by installing the sculptures acquired from this exhibition in the city so as to link with this. Therefore, it can be said that it had a very significant significance historically, and at that time, these two methods were a unique idea of ​​two birds with one stone, and as soon as Kobe City went on Accompanied urban beauty started. After that, even today, events with this style can be seen from time to time.

  How did this interlocking idea come out? As the phrase “culture comes from the local community”, the first thing is to hold an exhibition to promote art, and whether the results were used to develop the city, or conversely, the concept of city creation came first. For that reason, I think that the competition format was taken as a means to obtain excellent works, or I participated as a judge in the middle of the exhibition, so the situation during this time is not clear, but at least it is As for the sculpture exhibition, the town-building people seem to have not made it public, as it is within the city bureau. The reason why I try to scrutinize such things in detail is that when I participated, I was worried, although it was still vague. In a word, it means whether the works obtained from the competition can be diverted to urban development immediately. So in this essay I would like to look back at this docking event not from the exhibition but from the city-building people.

  In the catalog of the previous exhibition, Yusuke Nakahara mentioned that public art is different from art in public places. There are various opinions about whether or not the museum is a public place, so I will not touch here, but it is normal for Mr. Nakahara to refer to the museum and not call it a public place. If the works exhibited in this sculpture exhibition are installed in the city of Ube City, they will be classified as works of art for public places, and they will be distinguished at the exhibition. It is said that it is inevitable that it will be different from his work.

  The place where this exhibition is displayed and judged is called the Ube City Open-air Sculpture Museum, which is part of Tokiwa Park and can be said to be a so-called open air museum, but it is specially enclosed as a museum. Not exactly, it may not be exactly a museum. However, what I would like to discuss here is not the art museums, but the exhibition itself that is usually held in museums, and in particular that it is a competition exhibition.

  Now, the competition is considered as an extremely efficient means of promoting art in a liberal society. Moreover, this sculpture exhibition is an extremely widespread public offering, and free competition will be further escalated. As a matter of course, as the number of times was repeated, the number of expressions that had a strong self-assertion increased, increasing in size to overwhelm others in order to be able to pull out from many. Therefore, when trying to install the exhibited work as it is in the public space of the town, it seems that it is more likely that it will not match the urban space of the character as it is, or rather it will produce dissonance. The word “sculpture pollution” has been born along with this tendency.

  Around this time, it seems that sculptured town development has become popular around each city in Japan, but since the method of using the competition as the acquisition source is reflected, it is aimed more directly at the purpose of urban development. A method for obtaining a high-quality work along with it was sought.

  Nagano City came up with a unique method, which seemed to be an extension of the competition format. First of all, let’s give the city a place to install sculptures, and from the works produced and announced in the past two years by the technical committee, select the one suitable for the environment and give it an award and get it. It was thought that it was a skillful approach to the environment, even though it was a competition without entries. However, such a selected work should be called a ready-made work, and when it is put in the town, it seems that it is installed as an easy order, and a careful fit is not yet born. ..

  This was further environmentally enhanced by Sendai City’s “Forest and Sculpture” policy. It is the same as in Nagano City that the city authority decides the installation location in advance. However, the technical committee is completely different in selecting artists rather than directly selecting works suitable for the environment. The writer who received the request came to the site and took a completely made-to-order method of making a new production after fully understanding the environment. This is done continuously every year, limiting the number to one work per year without asking for the number, and focusing the budget on it, slow slow tempo that is inefficient compared to the case of acquiring many at competitions. Is. However, since it is a new work only for this reason with enough consideration for the environment, it does not reduce the eye so that it fits well with the environment. After all, from a long historical perspective, it seems that this is a wise way of making relationships, and is spreading to each city as a model for urban beauty making.

  The above argument is called “Open Space and Greenery and Sculpture,” which was co-sponsored by Ube City and the Mainichi Shimbun as a commemorative project for the 60th anniversary of Ube City and the 20th anniversary of the Contemporary Japanese Sculpture Exhibition. At the symposium, I was asked to give a keynote speech and I was presenting in that. Rereading the records at this time, I came to the Sendai system again, and for the first time thought that urban space and sculpture had the philosophy of coexisting.

  However, shortly after confirmation, a question arose. It means that the creation of a town with all sculptures in Japan, including this Sendai method, is already based on certain assumptions. The city space comes first, and the sculpture is placed in accord with or against this ready-made structure. Is it possible to say that this has a philosophy of coexistence? Here I remember that there is just one case I saw, but the exact opposite.

  That is the case of “Message to Andromeda”, a group of stone carvings of “Environmental modeling Q” (Rikuichiro Kobayashi, Masakazu Masuda, Makio Yamaguchi, group of three) installed on the artificial island Port Pier created by Kobe City. When there was only a flat plateau without any buildings on this island, I went to see it because the sculpture was already made in the center of the plateau. After that, I went to see it again when the town of this island was almost completed, but the “Message to Andromeda” occupies the center of the central park and the surroundings are surrounded by hotels, condominiums, hospitals and other buildings. Was there. The large and small boulders arranged like a constellation had one half left with their natural skin, and the other half polished and shining smoothly. I seemed to have a more powerful presence than the expression when there was nothing around me, while the expression that was rubbing against the group of buildings was stronger. This must have been the result of “Environmental Modeling Q”, which was created with due consideration of the environment after creation, but it cannot be overlooked that there was a sculpture first. In other words, the charm of this stone constellation makes us think about the procedure of creating a city.

  So far, I have been away from exhibitions and focused on urban creation itself, but let’s revisit the relationship with exhibitions again.

  Mr. Nakahara went on to discuss the public art mentioned above, and it is said that there are many sculptures in the cityscape that give the impression of being isolated in the environment. It should be noted that such works should not be given more attention, and examples include Marta Pan and Danny Caravan.

  A few years ago, I went to see a caravan made in Pontoise, a suburb north of Paris, in his guide. It was to connect this town to Paris with a laser, and it looked like the city itself, which was composed of so-called impractical architecture using a vast area. I was overwhelmed by this new concept and scale. However, after that, a caravan exhibition was held over several Japanese museums, which consisted of drawings, models, and photographs. This is because the original is connected to the local in terms of urban design and cannot be moved anywhere else. In other words, there are great expectations for environmental modeling, but it can be said that it will be difficult to make it at the current competition.

  By the way, there were some difficult changes in the exhibition. In the last 17th exhibition, Mr. Keiji Uematsu’s work “Floating with Trees” was filled with buns and a tree was planted on it. A steel frame is struck in the side of the sand bun, it extends horizontally, and a strange stone is placed on the edge of it, floating in balance with the tree. Attention was paid to the implication of gravity and the fact that it actually took in living trees.

  These things predict that the link between the competition and city building will become difficult. However, based on the results so far, it seems that this connection will not change immediately. So, today, in order to make this connection as smooth as possible, I insist on the scenery around the sculpture installation, and insist that the scenery cost should be considered as one of the main budgets.

(Art critic)