6 highlights from Japan’s KENPOKU ART 2016 festival

The Japanese festival connects art, nature and community over two months this Autumn.

Art Radar takes a look at six of the artists included in the 2016 line-up of KENPOKU ART.

Akane Moriyama, 'Mirage in the forest', 2016, installation. Image courtesy KENPOKU ART 2016. Photo: Keizo Kioku.

Akane Moriyama, ‘Mirage in the forest’, 2016, installation. Image courtesy KENPOKU ART 2016. Photo: Keizo Kioku.

Based in the Kenpoku region of the Northern Ibaraki Prefecture in Japan, the KENPOKU ART 2016 festival is held from 17 September to 20 November in six cities: Hitachi, Takahagi, Kitaibaraki, Hitachiota, Hitachiomiya and Daigo.

The festival incorporates nature, technology and community through exhibitions and installations, as well as special programmes. It includes approximately 100 artworks by 85 artists from all over the world.

The region is known as a place where the scholar Okakura Tenshin, painter Yokoyama Taikan and others based their creative art activities. Drawing from this historical importance of the region in the development of modern Japan, the festival explores creative innovation that is rooted in the local community.

With an overall theme of “Sea, Mountains, Art!”, a number of works in the festival have been created for specific natural environments, incorporating aspects of the forest and the sea. These works are combined with ones located in more traditional spaces, such as at the Tenshin Memorial Museum of Art in Kitaibaraki City, as well as at unusual spaces, such as abandoned shopping buildings, closed schools and a mountaintop Shinto shrine.

Art Radar takes a look at some of the highlights from KENPOKU ART 2016.

Zadok Ben-David, 'Backfield', 2016, installation. Image courtesy KENPOKU ART 2016. Photo: Keizo Kioku.

Zadok Ben-David, ‘Backfield’, 2016, installation. Image courtesy KENPOKU ART 2016. Photo: Keizo Kioku.

1. Zadok Ben-David

Zadok Ben-David was born in Yemen in 1949, immigrated to Israel that year and now lives and works in the United Kingdom. He graduated in Advanced Sculpture from St. Martin’s School of Art in London and his work has since been exhibited all over the world.

Ben-David has presented work at the Venice Biennale (1988), as well as at museums such as the Guangdong Art Museum, Tel Aviv Museum, New Kazakhstan National Museum in Astana and The Art Gallery of Uzbekistan in Tashkent, among many others. He was the Guest of Honour at the Great Sculpture Salon in 2012 and he was also the recipient of the Tel Aviv Museum Prize for Sculpture in 2005. In 2008, he was commissioned to create a work for the Beijing Olympics.

Zadok Ben-David, 'Backfield', 2016, detail. Image courtesy KENPOKU ART 2016. Photo: Keizo Kioku.

Zadok Ben-David, ‘Backfield’, 2016, detail. Image courtesy KENPOKU ART 2016. Photo: Keizo Kioku.

Ben-David is inspired by nature, science and magic. In one well-received work, Evolution and Theory (1999), he created a large-scale installation of 250 hand-cut aluminium sculptures of scientific drawings from 19th-century encyclopedias. He often incorporates images of insects and botanical materials into his work. At KENPOKU ART 2016, Ben-David presents an installation of elaborately crafted botanical silhouette miniatures in a large exhibition space, creating the impression of colourful floral garden against the spotless white background of the floor – a contrasting view of nature versus artifice.

Jung Hye Ryun, 'Serial possibility-fukuroda fall', 2016, installation. Image courtesy KENPOKU ART 2016. Photo: Keizo Kioku.

Jung Hye Ryun, ‘Serial possibility-fukuroda fall’, 2016, installation. Image courtesy KENPOKU ART 2016. Photo: Keizo Kioku.

2. Jung Hye Ryun

Jung Hye Ryun was born in South Korea in 1977. She graduated in sculpture at the Busan National University and continues to work and live in South Korea. Jung exhibits in gallery shows and also produces public sculptures.

Jung participated in the 2007 International Incheon Women Artists’ Biennale and the Busan Biennale 2010. She has received many awards from various art museums and institutions such as Young Sculptor of the Year at Kim Chong Yung Museum, Korea in 2012. She has had 21 solo exhibitions including “Serial Possibility-planet”(Lotte Avenuel Arthall, Seoul, 2015), “Abstract time”(Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei, 2013) and “Memory of Fantasy” (OCI Museum of Art, 2011).

Jung Hye Ryun, 'Serial possibility-fukuroda fall', 2016, installation. Image courtesy KENPOKU ART 2016. Photo: Keizo Kioku.

Jung Hye Ryun, ‘Serial possibility-fukuroda fall’, 2016, installation. Image courtesy KENPOKU ART 2016. Photo: Keizo Kioku.

Jung uses installation to explore concepts of space. She creates entwined sculptures, delicate wood constructions and geometrically structured objects. For KENPOKU ART 2016, Jung has created a work inspired by the Fukuroda Falls in Daigo, one of Japan’s great three waterfalls. The light installation guides visitors along their path through a tunnel with winding acrylic tubes, affixed to the domed ceiling, that change colour.

Akane Moriyama, 'Mirage in the forest', 2016, installation. Image courtesy KENPOKU ART 2016. Photo: Keizo Kioku.

Akane Moriyama, ‘Mirage in the forest’, 2016, installation. Image courtesy KENPOKU ART 2016. Photo: Keizo Kioku.

3. Akane Moriyama

Akane Moriyama was born in Fukuoka Prefecture in 1983 and currently lives and works in Sweden. She has a background in textile design and architecture and continues to work in both fields. Through her company, Studio Akane Moriyama (founded in 2010), she produces indoor and outdoor installations, as well as curtains for private homes and companies. She has been featured in a group exhibition at the University of Texas at Austin in the United States (2013) and the Venice Biennale of Architecture (2014), among others.

Akane Moriyama, 'Mirage in the forest', 2016, installation. Image courtesy KENPOKU ART 2016. Photo: Keizo Kioku.

Akane Moriyama, ‘Mirage in the forest’, 2016, installation. Image courtesy KENPOKU ART 2016. Photo: Keizo Kioku.

Moriyama creates installations using coloured textiles and materials, transforming environments and architectural spaces. For KENPOKU ART 2016, she has installed a work in the forest by Oiwa Shrine in Hitachi. Mirage in the forest is made out of about 6000 thin films that are pushed by the natural currents from the mountain. It resembles the inhale and exhale of everyday life, as well as incorporating the movement of the specific location, drawing from the spirituality of the place.

Nipan Oranniwesna, 'I / B / A / R / A / K / I', 2016, installation. Image courtesy KENPOKU ART 2016. Photo: Keizo Kioku.

Nipan Oranniwesna, ‘I / B / A / R / A / K / I’, 2016, installation. Image courtesy KENPOKU ART 2016. Photo: Keizo Kioku.

4. Nipan Oranniwesna

Nipan Oranniwesna was born in Thailand in 1962, studied printmaking at the Tokyo University of the Art from 1990 and now lives and works in Thailand. His work has been included in the Venice Biennale (2007), Busan Biennale (2008) and the Singapore Biennale (2013).

From around 1995, Oranniwesna moved into mixed media installation, working with objects that possessed a specific social history, material culture and contemporary issues. At KENPOKU ART 2016, Oranniwesna recreates an imaginary cityscape drawn from stencil maps of 42 cities, including 12 towns and villages in Ibaraki Prefecture. The three-dimensional map is sculpted out of sprinkled baby powder, creating connections between neighbouring prefectures and merging fiction and reality that provide more than just a map of people’s lives.

Nipan Oranniwesna, 'I / B / A / R / A / K / I', 2016, installation. Image courtesy KENPOKU ART 2016. Photo: Keizo Kioku.

Nipan Oranniwesna, ‘I / B / A / R / A / K / I’, 2016, installation. Image courtesy KENPOKU ART 2016. Photo: Keizo Kioku.

Sudsiri Pui-Ock, 'Soul Shelter', 2016, installation. Image courtesy KENPOKU ART 2016. Photo: Keizo Kioku.

Sudsiri Pui-Ock, ‘Soul Shelter’, 2016, installation. Image courtesy KENPOKU ART 2016. Photo: Keizo Kioku.

5. Sudsiri Pui-Ock

Sudsiri Pui-Ock was born in Thailand in 1976, where she now lives and works. She has participated in many international exhibitions, such as the Biennale of Sydney (2012), Yokohama Triennale in Japan (2011) and in the Thai Pavilion in the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009). She has undertaken an artist-in-residence at Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam, between 2004 and 2005 and has participated in the ARCUS Project Moriya Japan in 2006.

Working from techniques such as printmaking, drawing, painting, and sculpture, Pui-Ock explores the relationship between human beings and nature. At KENPOKU ART 2016, she has presented a three-dimensional work of fingers emerging from a shell on the Takado Kohama coastline. Soul Shelter reflects on the soul’s need for shelter, even in the most temporary of spaces.

Wang Te-Yu, 'No.85', 2016, installation. Image courtesy KENPOKU ART 2016. Photo: Keizo Kioku.

Wang Te-Yu, ‘No.85’, 2016, installation. Image courtesy KENPOKU ART 2016. Photo: Keizo Kioku.

6. Wang Te-Yu

Wang Te-Yu was born in Taiwan in 1970, where she studied fine art, as well as website and graphic design, at the National Institute of the Arts. She was a member of the Shin Leh Yuan New Paradise Art Space in Taipei, an artist cooperative founded in 1995. She has been an artist-in-residence at Villa Waldberta in Munich and ARCUS Project in Japan and has been awarded the third Annual Grand Award of Prix de Paris. She has exhibited widely, including at institutions such as the Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei, Tina Keng Gallery, Jinji Lake Art Museum (Suzhou, China), Guangdong Museum of Art, as well as at the Yokohama Triennale in 2005.

Wang Te-Yu, 'No.85', 2016, installation. Image courtesy KENPOKU ART 2016. Photo: Keizo Kioku.

Wang Te-Yu, ‘No.85’, 2016, installation. Image courtesy KENPOKU ART 2016. Photo: Keizo Kioku.

Wang has been exploring the sense of space through fabric materials since the 1990s. She creates interactive installations that visitors enter, using white and pastel transparent materials to transform the exhibition space.

For KENPOKU ART 2016 she has installed a giant balloon in an open-ceiling space with glass walls. As visitors enter and interact with the surreal world on the inside of the balloon, those on the outside see the movements of the air-filled structure – an enormous object that seems to come to life.

Claire Wilson

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Related topics: Japanese artists, art festivals, Curatorial practiceEast Asianinstallation, European artists

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