The Japan Pavilion at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia 2016: Curator’s statement

Curator’s statement

en: art of nexus

In contemporary Japan, where unemployment, particularly among the young, has become chronic, and inequality and poverty grow worse every day, the high-growth economy of the postwar era is now a historical event that belongs to the distant past.

With the additional sense of loss that arose in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake, which occurred on March 11, 2011, Japanese society is currently on the verge of a huge turning point. How is our architecture changing to fit this new era? Where exactly is our architecture headed? Whether it concerns the beautiful ornamentation of the medium or the drastic modification of an existing framework, many of the things we focus on here are not visible on a superficial level in the works. This is in part due to our emphasis on the links between people, things, and people and things – in other words, the primary theme of this exhibition is the importance of creating and changing en.

This exhibition does not attempt to formulate a vehicle, such as those seen in Modernism, which set out to convey some kind of big story or slogan. Instead, it examines a variety of aspects related to individual struggles in the fight against conditions and issues that we are currently confronting. Though this fight, being waged on the front lines to ensure that we can survive these difficult conditions, may be in its infancy, the group of works presented in this exhibition, which focuses on a variety of en, has the latent potential to serve as a basis for social change.

––Yoshiyuki Yamana
Revised on March 28, 2016

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