The internationally renowned figure who was widely praised for his experimental curatorial practice has passed away, aged 44.
On 16 October 2012, Japanese independent curator Takashi Azumaya passed away at the age of 44. Azumaya was known for his innovative curatorship of several Japanese exhibitions as well as his involvement in the 2008 and 2010 Busan Biennales.
Takashi Azumaya was born on 21 March, 1968 in Yokkaichi City, Japan. In 1994, he received a Master in Fine Arts in oil painting from the Tokyo University of the Arts. After graduation, Azumaya held curatorial positions at a number of Japanese institutions, including the Setagaya Art Museum, the Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery and the Mori Art Museum, before beginning his career as an independent curator.
In 2006, Azumaya organised “GUNDAM Generating Futures” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sapporo, a group show of artwork inspired by the iconic anime series Mobile Suit Gundam. Azumaya was also the first non-Korean artistic director of the Busan Biennale in 2010, having served as a guest curator for the event in 2008. The 2010 festival explored the average person’s role in contemporary society, and to this end Azumaya placed large-scale installations in several key spots around Busan to boost public participation in the project.
ArtAsiaPacific published an article describing in detail Azumaya’s work and his distinctive attitude towards artistic practice. Commenting on the curator’s first exhibition, the article says,
Azumaya’s curatorial debut ‘Art/Domestic – Temperature of the Time‘ at Setagaya Art Museum in 1999 became one of the iconic art exhibitions of that year. Originally trained as a painter, Azumaya chose artworks for this show that were not theory driven, but created from the artists’ instinctive feelings towards the subject. Azumaya tried to capture the mood (or ‘temperature’) of the time in “Art/Domestic”, with a unique, free-wheeling approach that would characterise his curatorial style.
Azumaya leaves behind a long legacy of innovative curatorship that will be deeply missed in the international art community.
- Sharjah Biennial 11’s global courtyard: Architects from 5 countries to design – June 2012 – a revamping of the Sharjah art scene organised by biennial curator Yuko Hasegawa
- Japanese-born curator Sayoko Nakahara awarded 2012 H+F Curatorial Grant – March 2012 – prize for up-and-coming curators working in innovative practices
- Asian Curatorial Network Forum challenges traditional exhibition practices – July 2011 – institutional support for Asian curators steadily growing
- Young Japanese curators bankrolled by Takashi Murakami – Japanese Times – February 2011 – a look into Murakami’s gallerist/curator collective 0000
- Busan Biennale pushes for new discoveries in contemporary Asian art – artist list – August 2010 – the experimental 2010 biennial curated by Takashi Azumaya
Subscribe to Art Radar for more on contemporary Japanese curators