Japan’s biennial prize announced its Grand Prize and Audience Award winners.
The Nissan Art Award 2015 honours emerging Japanese artists every two years, shortlisting a total of 7 finalists for each edition and awarding a Grand Prize and an Audience Award. This year, the awards went to Yuko Mohri and Tsuyoshi Hisakado, respectively.
The Jury awarded the Grand Prize to Yuki Mohri, who received a trophy created by product designer Keita Suzuki, along with prize money of JPY3 million. In addition, Mohri is given the opportunity of undertaking a two-month residency in spring 2016 in London, in association with the Camden Arts Centre.
The Audience Award went to Tsuyoshi Hisakado, who received the highest number of votes from visitors from the opening of the exhibition until 23 November.
The 2015 Winners
Yuko Mohri (b. 1980, Kanagawa) creates installations that transmit intangible energies, such as magnetism, light, gravity and temperature. Her assemblages combine everyday and mass produced objects and machine parts collected during her travels in various cities around the world. Her upcoming exhibitions include “The Beginnings (or Open-Ended)” at the Minatomachi Potluck Building in Nagoya and “Roppongi Crossing 2016” at the Mori Art Museum.
Mohri started the Moré Moré Tokyo (Leaky Tokyo) fieldwork series in 2009, focusing on the sites of water leaks inside train stations and photographically recording the way in which such leaks are resolved. Mohri observed the station staff’s collection of everyday objects used to combat and deal with the leaks, and likened it to the origin of artistic conception advocated by Soetsu Yanagi as “the beauty of use”. The series has evolved into a new work for Yokohama in the exhibition. Here she humorously and critically examines the unfamiliar features of the city through a structure devised for water leakage control.
Fumio Nanjo, Nissan Art Award 2015 Jury Chairman, said about the winner:
All of the works had immense power and, as with the first screening, the judging process was incredibly difficult. While Grand Prix-winner Yuko Mohri’s new work has its roots in an actual place in society – water leakage in train stations – she elevated this into an artwork with diverse media and content, such as references to Marcel Duchamp, time, and sound. In her work we can sense how the artist has moved into new frontiers.
Tsuyoshi Hisakado (b. 1981, Kyoto) attempts to re-create our most recondite memories by using light, sound and objects in an immersive spatial environment. Experiencing the space, visitors are made aware of the passing of time through flickering lightbulbs, fluttering curtains and the reverberation of sounds – all déjà vu scenes that might be actual memories or ones ‘implanted’ by someone else. In 2016 he will create the stage scene for Time’s Journey through a Room, a new play by chelfitsch premiering in Kyoto in May 2016.
For the Award exhibition, Hisakado produced Quantize #5, fusing mechanical elements with the architectural space of the venue, and creating an awareness towards things that are commonly overlooked, such as the history and context of a place, as well as the time and signs that remain.
The Nissan Art Award 2015 exhibition
The exhibition in Yokohama, running until 27 December 2015, includes the work of the winners as well as the other five finalists.
Tomoko Yoneda (b. 1965, Hyogo) has presented a series of works that engage with the landscape, people and objects connected to World War II, B-29 crash sites in the United Kingdom, the military demarcation line dividing North and South Korea, and Tsuguharu Fujita (also known as Léonard Fujita), who was denounced for his paintings documenting the war. In addition, there are also some of her previous works that reference the Yasukuni Shrine and Hiroshima, which combine historical fragments to examine past and present.
Takahiro Iwasaki (b. 1975, Hiroshima) uses everyday items to reconstruct familiar landscapes. In the exhibition, Reflection Model (Rashomon Effect) takes the half-demolished Rashomon gate – which appeared in the eponymous Akira Kurosawa film – and turns it into a three-dimensional object paired with its reflection in a puddle.
On show is also a collection of pylons made of strands of hair, which reference the old woman who stole hair in Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s short story Rashomon – one of Kurosawa’s sources for the film. Combined with contemporary society 70 years after the war, the world of Rashomon appears is in disarray, with the hanging shadow of conflict and natural disaster.
Takashi Ishida (b. 1972, Tokyo) combines painting, film and performance in works that express traces of the body and time. In Square Window, he drew upon short stories by Edgar Allan Poe to explore themes of windows and wall, swirl and repetition.
Futoshi Miyagi (b. 1981, Okinawa) has created a new video installation as part of his series American Boyfriend, a research project about Okinawa and sexual minorities that the artist has been observing since 2012. The video shows scenes shot in both Okinawa and America, where Miyagi conducted interviews. A violinist American soldier and an Okinawan pianist play musical tracks in the film, performing the communication process, the shared histories and the complex relationship between the two locales.
Sayaka Akiyama’s (b. 1971, Hyogo) constant search for “the footpath of time” has culminated in EROSION 9/1 19 29 10/3 11/7 8 13, created over two months at BankART. The work is a room made of semi-transparent fabric, printed with maps of the artist’s walks around the exhibition venue, Kannai and Bashamichi in Yokohama.
The lines and paths are stitched with different colours and shapes of threads as well as everyday objects. Akiyama also wrote words in the form of diary entries on the walls and the windows of the exhibition space, fusing the work with the landscape of Yokohama.
C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia
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