A Trip to Yokohama! (Part 2) – The Yokohama Triennale




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A Trip to Yokohama! (Part 2) – The Yokohama Triennale

After lunch, we headed to the Yokohama Museum of Art, which was hosting the Yokohama Triennale, an international contemporary exhibition of art.

As the name suggests, this event happens once every three years. It is in its 7th edition, having held the first in 2001. The international even invites famous and emerging artists from Japan but also around the world to exhibit a diverse range of pieces in various medium.

As the flagship art event carrying the name of the port city, you bet this is a high quality event not to be missed.

The theme of this year's event is "AFTERGLOW", which means ... I'll have to quote wholesale here:

A word chosen by Raqs Media Collective to reference how, in our everyday lives, we unknowingly experience the residues of light sparked at the beginning of our time, as in the case of how the “white noise” on our analog televisions included fragments of cosmic microwave background radiation left over from the cosmic Big Bang. By referring to the Big Bang’s destructive energy that propelled creativity and over time, gave birth to life on this planet, and its radiation that is toxic as well as therapeutic, Raqs Media Collective takes interest in the cycle of destruction/toxicity and recovery/care in the human activities of the contemporary age. Together with the artists, audience, and others, Raqs Media Collective will explore ways to co-exist with toxicity for human sustenance and survival in this world in flux, rather than eliminate it.

Deep. Entering the museum, the atrium is immediately and completely enveloped in the towering 12m tall and some 24mx12m wide Kinetic Spinner Forest by Nick Cave. Each individual piece is a sparkling speckle of “light residue” and together the entire forest literally bathes visitors in light a they are transported to a well curated world of the AFTERGLOW.

There are many many other works, but my favourite has to be “A Mound of shells by Iwama Asako. Unlike most other works, this is a video detailing her tracing her father”s own journey through Sri Lanka decades ago as he explored the local people and tea.

Despite being seemingly disconnected from the other experiences and installations, there was something about the story that drew audiences in. Perhaps it was the idea that one man’s journey, back in the 1960s through what must have been extremely rural Sri Lanka, the idea of an individual casting a more cushy life home to seek his own place in the world that must have attracted visitors. I know it certainly left a deep mark on me, and also for the artist, the man’s daughter, who herself left for Berlin to work as an artist/chef at a young age before returning to be a full fledged artist herself whose work explores the relationship between people, food and how that combination leads to better world.

Other more contemporary pieces are well exhibited, and some, such as the work of Park Chan Kyong and Rosa Barba are perhaps more easily understandable and understandably darker as they deal with the theme perhaps more literally.

Overall I highly recommend the experience. At 2000, it is very affordable and will make a fun and enriching weekend. The event will end in October, so please hurry.


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I'm an aspiring architect pursuing/living my dream of working in Japan.
I work in Tokyo, but live across Futagotamagawa in Oakhouse Kajigaya, Kawasaki.

Working in Japan is hard, but there's lots of opportunities to play hard as well.
I hope to share a little of my experience with everyone through this blog.