The 19th Contemporary Japanese Sculpture Exhibition

Public Art Today

Shigenobu Kimura

  The term and concept of public art originated in America. After the New Deal policy by President Roosevelt in the 1930s, it began when the state and local governments actively used the power of artists to rebuild infrastructure. In Japan, this public art is often installed by public institutions such as local governments as a means of forming beautiful cityscapes and promoting local areas, but there are also private art companies. The pioneer was created by Ube City in 1961, but it is now held by more than 300 local governments (about 10% of the whole country), and it is said that there are more than 10,000 works. In connection with this public art, the so-called “1% system” was started in Nagano City in 1973. This is to devote 1% of the total construction cost of public facilities to art. It was institutionalized in France in 1951, then spread to Italy and Germany, and reached Japan. (I will explain the actual situation in Japan later) I

recently visited Korea to see the public art of Seoul. South Korea has the aforementioned 1% system, which is applied not only to public buildings but also to private buildings. The opportunity was the success of the outdoor sculpture symposium held during the 1988 Seoul Olympics, with 201 works by artists from 68 countries displayed in 6 locations in a memorial park of about 1.5 million square meters. Has been done.

After entering the Main Gate (East Gate) and passing through the meeting area, there is a huge crescent-shaped sculpture “Soul ’88 Olympic” of Stacchioli (Italy) 37 meters high and 28 meters wide in a wide space. From the front, the magnificent stadium rises diagonally against the backdrop of a vast garden. There are also works by Avacanovic (Poland), Cesar (France), Ricky (US), Armitage (UK), and sculptures by Takeyoshi Inoue, Kyuhei Shimizu, Saburo Muraoka, Shin Shingu, Shintaro Tanaka.

In Korea, an organization was then established in each city to select public art producers, and in Seoul there is an environmental art council consisting of 10 people, including writers and art critics. I met four museum directors who had served as members of the committee and talked to them, but the council was full of emotions and injustice, and the members are supposed to change from year to year, but they still function effectively. It was said that he did not. Actually, my impression of seeing the outdoor sculptures in Jongno-gu, Myeongdong-gu and Gangnam-gu in central Seoul was not so good. Most of them were abstract sculptures, but were limited to about 20 artists and were typical. Not only were they not so good in molding, but there were many things that were not closely related to the environment.

In Japan, the merits and demerits of public art have come to be discussed. When a research group conducted a five-level survey on the happiness of works installed in various places, it was found that many were unhappy. For example, around the sculpture of Sebastian (Mexico), which is installed in the center of the tall dome of Oak 200 in Benten-cho, Osaka, there are various objects placed around, which spoils the wonderful sculpture.

The character of ordinary sculpture is different from that of outdoor sculpture. It is desirable that the sculptures inside the museum be unique and centripetal in that they are placed in a neutral space. However, the outdoor sculpture does not complete itself by separating itself from the surroundings and confining inside like the indoor sculpture. Although it is neutral in itself, it exerts its individuality by being related to the environment, and thus it is required to show a centrifugal space. This is why sculptures that make effective use of wind, water, and light are preferred. For example, there is a stainless steel mirror sculpture by Yoshikuni Iida in the center of Senri, Toyonaka City. Because it uses bearings, several metal plates change their shape every moment depending on the strength of the wind, while reflecting the surrounding buildings and people. It is at night that this sculpture is particularly beautiful. Although it reflects the ambient light, it looks as if it is emitting the seven colors of light.

As mentioned above, the pioneer of public art in Japan was the “Ube City Open-air Sculpture Exhibition” that began in 1961 and was held at Tokiwa Park. In the same year, he created the “Guidelines for setting up the secretariat for the business of decorating Ube with sculpture”. Then, in 1968, the city of Kobe started the “Suma Rikyu Park Contemporary Sculpture Exhibition” and installed the purchased works in public spaces in the city. After that, the city of Yokohama introduced public art into Odori Park (planned in 1968, completed in 1973).

The Environment Agency was established in 1971, and the “Environmental Conservation Law” was enacted in 1972. From around 1973, “Creating a town with sculpture” was related to the “Cultural Age” and the “Regional Age”, It will be held in various places. In 1973, the “1% system for culture” will start in Nagano City. The system was subsequently adopted in Hachioji (1976), Sendai (77), Kanagawa (78), Hyogo and Shiga (1979).

Hyogo Prefecture’s “1% system for creating a living culture” is extremely unique. In many prefectures and cities, there are many hard things that can be distinguished from the whole, such as sculptures and murals, but in Hyogo prefecture, there are many things that cannot be distinguished because they are built into the whole, so to speak, soft designs. It is emphasized. For example, Ako High School has a 1% system that is based on the theme of “prefectural high school as a region”, with plans for school buildings, entrance halls, towers, and open spaces. In other words, the classroom building was changed from a general parallel layout to a U-shaped plan to create a plaza for various events in the school and the area, and to allow you to see the seaside park and the Seto Inland Sea. This design is wonderful.

Behind this is the idea of ​​”from a 1% system to a <100+alpha>% system.” In other words, the idea is that it should be a system that can introduce wisdom that is difficult to convert into numbers, rather than simply adding 1% of artistic value. In this regard, I emphasize the soft design first.

There are various methods for selecting public art, but the success rate of the competition for nomination or public offering is high. In other words, rather than choosing a writer, you choose a work. The question then becomes who chooses.

In 1994, the Housing and Urban Development Corporation conducted “Fare Tachikawa” as part of the development of the site of the Tachikawa base. 109 works by 92 people from 36 countries are scattered throughout the city. The budget is 900 million yen. Immediately after the project was completed, the New York Times reported, “It’s an unlikely project outside Japan.” In other words, in this way the administrative authorities throw a huge amount of money and let one private arts person make a selection, or a selection committee made up of experts like the “Tokyo International Forum” decides that the work suddenly disappears one day This is because “it is almost impossible” in the United States. Moreover, the department in charge of the “Tokyo International Forum” within the Tokyo Metropolitan Government was dismantled after the project was completed. It is surprising, therefore, that no valuable information about the writer or any valuable assets such as practical problems and reflections remain.

In recent years, in the United States, the number of temporary installations that can be replaced every few years or a dozen years has increased from permanent installations. This increased public acceptance of experimental works and provided opportunities for anonymous writers.

Osaka Prefecture made a unique attempt in 1981 in connection with this temporary installation. It is a mural in the entrance lobby of the Osaka Medical Center. The mural, which is 2.5 meters long and 8.8 meters wide, is tiled in plain white and can be painted with watercolors and erased with water. Therefore, the floor under the mural is inclined and has a groove for water flow. In other words, this mural is designed so that you can draw it, erase it, and then draw it again. The local children are the ones who draw the pictures, and it is a rule to redraw them in a rotation of about three months.

In addition, Osaka City is implementing the Midosuji Sculpture Street Project. Currently, 25 points are installed and are still under expansion. The overall theme is “Human Hymns” and the motif is “Human Body,” which is limited to bronze statues, to create a cohesive landscape. This is because, if the motifs and materials are disjointed, even if each piece is excellent, it gives a cluttered impression. Most of the sculptures installed so far are female figures, including clothes and nudes. There are some criticisms about exposing nudes to the public regarding nudes. However, this is an opinion because he does not recognize the difference between naked and naked. That is the difference between naked and nude. While naked means that the kimono has been stripped off, nude means the reconstructed body. Therefore, nude, or nude, is not a subject of art, but a form of art. That is why, depending on the times and regions, the proportional relationship between the head and the body is required as a standard for human body beauty, and a Greek eight-headed body or an African proportionality (less than six headed bodies) was established.

The greatest feature of Midosuji sculpture is that each sculpture is donated by a roadside company. It has more meaning than contributing to beautiful landscape formation. Because the sculpture placed on the sidewalk in front of the entrance of each company building touches the eyes of not only the people who pass by, but also the employees of the company, which fosters pride and attachment to Osaka. It will be. “Rome is not built in one day,” but the beautiful cityscape is the same, and it is necessary for each citizen to refine their sensibility.

(Art critic)