Kyoto Art Walk 2008
Kyoto Art Forum 2008 Organising Committee
For overseas artists participating in international exhibitions and projects in Kyoto, its historical shrines, temples and gardens have always been a powerful source of inspiration.
Kyoto Art Walk has been conceived as a forum where the radicalism of contemporary art is played out among the protected sites and spaces of an ancient city. Transcending history and geography, it seeks to rediscover the holy and the universally human. The encounter is not just with historical spaces as they survive today, but also with the energy of those who originally created them and those who have cared for and preserved them over the centuries.
Kyoto Art Walk is a privately organised and independently funded undertaking committed to maintaining the highest of artistic standards. It is neither an official mechanism for the fostering of art, nor does it have the remit of local regeneration or the encouragement of tourism. It has, nevertheless, and for this the organisers are most grateful, benefited from official support in terms of publicity and the securing of venues.
The first Kyoto Art Walk of 2005 took the form of a series of installations in the Nijojo, Kiyomizudera, Kodaiji and Saigyoan. It attracted more than 33,000 visitors.
Kyoto Art Walk 2008 is taking place both in venues that were used during the Kyoto Art Walk 2005 – the kitchen of the Nijojo and the Kyodo (Sutra Hall) and Jojuin of the Kiyomizudera – and in new venues in the Tofukuji and the Sanshisuimeidokoro.
The installations created in these spaces will have evolved out of the experience of walking the streets of Kyoto, gazing up at the surrounding hills and observing the light that flits across the surface of the Kamo River like the birds that fly above it. They will draw on the experience of seeing the neatly built shelters of the homeless, of sipping tea in an atmosphere laden with the weight and depth of Kyoto's long history.
The forms of Japanese art are complete in and of themselves. You cannot add to them, nor can you subtract from them.
Walking the treasure house that is Kyoto and breathing in its intoxicating air, one's visit is like the passing of the breeze. Kyoto's history and culture can be likened to living cells, the universe and a contextual landscape. To wander through these is the theme and purpose of this project.
Modern man lives in the midst of war, poverty and unending strife and destruction. The five artists participating in Kyoto Art Walk 2008 are Mark Wallinger, Jeanluc Vilmouth, Tadashi Kawamata, Katsuhito Nishikawa and Matt Golden. They will all be travellers and pilgrims to Kyoto. At the same time they will be quiet messengers who reflect on the society and the modern world.
Like gusts of wind from afar, their creative visions will blow through and be transformed by the Kyoto they meet. What will we discover through their encounters with the inherited perfection of the past and the chaos of today?
Every walk is a unique event, an 'ichigo ichie' of traditional Japanese parlance.
As we walk the streets of Kyoto, chance meetings are followed by unexpected discoveries. It will be this series of unrepeatable encounters that will constitute Kyoto Art Walk 2008.