Yokohama Triennale chooses “oblivion” – 2014 concept finalised

Japanese Triennale sets sail on the “sea of oblivion” for its 2014 edition.

On 21 May 2013, the Yokohama Triennale annouced “sailing into the sea of oblivion” as the theme of its next event. The Triennale, next running 1 August to 3 November 2014, gathers artists from across the world to explore the links between art and society.

Yasumasa Morimura, Artistic Director of the Yokohama Triennale, announced the 2014 theme "Sailing into the Sea of Oblivion" on 21 May in Yokohama, Japan. Image courtesy Ken Kato.

Yasumasa Morimura, Artistic Director of the Yokohama Triennale, announced the 2014 theme “Sailing into the sea of oblivion” on 21 May in Yokohama, Japan. Image courtesy Ken Kato.

Inspired by Ray Bradbury’s 1953 science fiction novel Fahrenheit 451, organisers of the fifth edition of the Yokohama Triennale selected “ART Fahrenheit 451: Sailing into the sea of oblivion” as the event’s full title.

Explaining his concept at a press conference, Artistic Director of the event Yasumasa Morimura said that the Yokohama Triennale,

aims to explore the sea of “oblivion” by means of a ship called “art” in a voyage along with all those who believe in the possibility of artistic adventure and those who seek out a bold view of the world.

Referring to the “exiles” in Bradbury’s novel, characters who memorised books as a means to preserve literature for posterity, Morimura went on to say that: “the world of memory is only a small island in the vast ‘sea of oblivion’.” The 2014 Yokohama Triennale will ask participants to refocus on forgetting and unknowing, stated Morimura.

Details of the exhibitions and events scheduled for the 2014 event have yet to be released. But Morimura, in a statement released in 2012 and published on the Yokohama Triennale website, provided event-goers with an insight into what not to expect in 2014. Giving his opinion on international art events, Morimura writes that for the majority,

The scale is merely large. And the festive air is merely an amusement. Many are reduced to a symbol of populism, globalism, and localism. Market principles have exerted a consciously strong influence on the art world, prompting questions not only from those concerned but also from viewers. And though these people may still be in the minority, they are bound to increase as time goes by.

The 2014 Triennale will be the first event under Morimura’s directorship, and Morimura himself admits his leadership is likely to prove “risky” at least.

About Yasumasa Morimura

Yasumasa Morimura is known for his mixed-media photographs, videos and installations reflecting a research-intensive practice and a critical eye toward Japanese and international art history. He made his debut in 1985 with self-portraits based on his personal interpretation of Vincent Van Gogh.

He has since produced a number of self-portraits in the form of staged photographs and video works that identify with art-historical images, famous film actresses, and iconic figures from the 20th century, and was nominated for the Hugo Boss Prize in 1996. The Osaka-based Morimura is the second artist to helm the Triennale, following Tadashi Kawamata in 2005.

Watch a short interview with Yasumasa Morimura talking about his video work Requiem: Laugh at the Dictator, Schizophrenic (2008) below.


Related Topics: Japanese art and artists, triennales, the theme of memory

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