Kyoto Art Center °

Muromachi-dori Takoyakushi-sagaru Yamafushiyama-cho 546-2
604-8156 Kyoto

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press release

In confronting the world's relentless problems -the ever increasing environmental crisis as well as the ever escalating violence between estranged civilizations -what can art do today to help? Of course art has no direct power to decrease carbon dioxide emissions or to deter war. But the power of art consists in its ability to probe the depth of the psyche and examine the root of such destruction and violence. Its power also consists in presenting a new vision of the world, a vision totally different from what we usually formulate. When we are ill, many of us think it natural to go to the hospital, get medicine or have an operation to cure the disease. Behind a disease, however, there often lurks a terrible habit. If we just want to fight against the symptoms we suffer from, we can count on medicine or an operation. But if we want to permanently cure the disease, we have to change our habits. Art is, so to speak, an attempt to reflect on and change our habits of looking at and thinking about reality. Art is no quick remedy. Art can change our habits, but these changes need time to take effect. Art does not help us just to survive. Instead, it encourages us to ask ourselves what a life would be that is worth surviving. Through the act of asking this question, we have the chance to survive. Promotion of art, in its essential sense, does not mean building fabulous new museums and theaters, or spending a lot of money on big art festivals. Nor does it mean just exhibiting those works which have already been acknowledged as having artistic value. Nor does it consist in publicizing works which are merely popular and fashionable. Treating art as only a cultural object may appear to lead to art's protection, but actually such treatment merely obscures the power of art by reducing it to an object. Promotion of art, in its real sense, is the creation of a communication space where we can discuss important issues, stimulated by the artworks. And this space should be full of artistic playfulness. Kyoto Biennale 2003 (October 4-November 3, 2003), organized by Kyoto Art Center, will create such an occasion. It is not a massive demonstration of contemporary art, as the word "Biennale" may appear to proclaim. Not only contemporary art, but also theater, film, Butoh, Noh, Kyogen, and traditional performing arts from other Asian countries will be included. Artists we are planning to invite are from Croatia, Slovenia, Brazil, China, France, USA, Japan and other regions. Besides exhibition and performance, we will organize lectures, presentations and discussions on the topic of "slowness," the main theme for Kyoto Biennale 2003. We will all have a chance to exchange our ideas about various world issues. Kyoto Art Center, the main venue for the Biennale, was originally the Meirin Elementary School building, established in 1869. Due to the decline in the downtown Kyoto's population, the school was closed in 1993. After extensive renovation, the building became as Kyoto Art Center in April 2000. The elementary school symbolizes the modernization of the Japanese society after the Meiji Restoration on the one hand, and on the other it signifies a space isolated from the hectic grown-up world. The history of the building lends a unique atmosphere to Kyoto Art Center. Since its opening, the Center has been an important place for exhibitions, for theater, dance and traditional play performances, as well as for production studio and workshop activity. It also has accepted artists from inside and outside of Japan in its artist-in-residence program. It has also published the critical journal Diatxt. Instead of constructing a new building after pulling down the old one, Kyoto Art Center chose to use an old building and to welcome new attempts inside it. This policy suits the city of Kyoto, as well as the topic of Kyoto Biennale 2003: "Slowness." The Biennale will take place by connecting several places including Kyoto Art Center. The most important attitude that we need today is a ready acceptance of different cultures. We also need to find ways to coexist despite our many differences. The city of Kyoto is one of those which has formed a tradition of cultural tolerance over many centuries. Kyoto Biennale 2003 intends to enlarge our opportunities to encounter artists and people from many different places. The Biennale will encourage communication and mutual understanding through an in-depth experience of artworks, rather than just the mere exhibition or appreciation of them.

Organized by Kyoto Art Center / In cooperation with American Consulate General/Kansai American Center, Embassy of the Republic of Croatia, Embassy of Brazil / Supported by Japan Foundation for Regional Art-Activities, The Japan Arts Fund, The Japan Foundation, The Kao Foundation For Arts And Sciences / With the Assistance of Instituto Italiano di Cultura, Institut Franco-Japonais du Kansai, Goethe Institut Kyoto, IAMAS, Kyoto Seika University, ART COMPLEX 1928

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Kyoto Biennale 2003
Organisation: Kyoto Art Center

Künstler: Irwin  Weekend Art  Otavio Donasci, Shozo Shimamoto, Yoshihiro Suda, Tadasu Takamine, Katsunori Takano, Tamiko Thiel, Mirai Tono, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Roberto Okinaka, Shinichi Iwamura, Koichi Kurita ...