With “Alternating Currents: Japanese Art after March 2011” the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA) in cooperation with the Japan Foundation shows art that has been influenced by Japan’s Tōhoku earthquake. Art Radar brings you pictures and a summary of the event.

Six contemporary Japanese artists, artist collectives and musicians have been asked by the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art to reflect on the local and global effects of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March of 2011. The exhibition is curated by Australian Leigh Robb from PICA, Azusa Hashimoto of the National Museum of Art in Osaka and independent curator Jaime Pacena II from Manila, and exposes the public in Perth to current Japanese art practices for the first time.


"Alternating Currents" at PICA in Perth; one of the installations. Image courtesy PICA.


"Alternating Currents" at PICA, an impression. Image courtesy PICA.


"Alternating Currents", an impression. Image courtesy PICA.

Participating artists are Yukio Fujimoto (sound and installation), Taro Izumi (video, installation and performance), Yuko Mohri (installations, sound and drawings), the artist collective Nadegata Instant Party (performance and new media by Toru Nakazaki, Daisuke Yamashiro and Tomoko Noda), Yoshihide Otomo (composer, guitarist and installation artist) and social activist Sakiko Sugawa.

Click here to watch a promotional video for “Alternating Currents” created by the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, which provides a good overview of the organisation and realisation of this show.

“Alternating Currents” is, according to the PICA press release, “a kaleidoscope of color and energy”. The exhibition spreads out across the entire PICA building and extends into the nearby Perth Cultural Centre. In some cases visitors are invited to actively participate in the art process: Nadegata Instant Party have opened a café called Yellow Cake Street, where visitors are encouraged to purchase the “local delicacy”, a piece of yellow cake. In fact there is no such delicacy and in Australia the term ‘yellowcake’ is synonymous with the “dangerous bi-product of uranium mining”, opening up “various interpretations and understandings about yellow cake”; Taro Izumi’s huge Sugoroku-like board game entitled Skunk Tunnel is packed with “various masks and activities scattered about like the aftermath of an earthquake.”; Yoshihide Otomo’s addition is Double Orchestra, an “audience participation style concert for people living in Perth.”

Alternating Currents” is one of three projects that are a result of a series of short term residencies given to sixteen emerging curators from all over Asia, which were held in 2010 in Japan and facilitated by the Japan Foundation. The three curators of this exhibition were part of the 2010 residency programme and more shows about Japanese art are planned.


"Alternating Currents", a homely installation. Image courtesy PICA.


"Alternating Currents", a quiet view. Image courtesy PICA.

Alternating Currents: Japanese Art After March 2011, curated by Azusa Hashimoto, Jaime Pacena II and Leigh Robb, is open from 11am to 6pm from Tuesday to Sunday, until 31 December 2011 at all PICA galleries.


Related Topics: art exhibitions, Japanese contemporary art, installation art

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By Brittney

Brittney is a writer, curator and contemporary art gallerist. Born in Singapore and based in New York City, Brittney maintains a deep interest in the contemporary art landscape of Southeast Asia. This is combined with an equally strong interest in contemporary art from the Asian diasporas, alongside the issues of identity, transmigration and global relations.

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