Rapt! — 20 contemporary artists from Japan

Rapt!?|20 contemporary artists from Japan

Organized by the Japan Foundation for the 2006 Australia–Japan Year of Exchange

Tomoko Konoike <A world of never-ending wonder, secret and mystery>
Tomoko Konoike
A world of never-ending wonder, secret and mystery

Rei Naito <Being Called>
Rei Naito
Being Called
Photo: Axel Schneider
Courtesy: Gallery Koyanagi, Tokyo

Atelier Bow-Wow <White Limousine Yatai>
Atelier Bow-Wow
White Limousine Yatai

Naohiro Ukawa

Kyota Takahashi <Minatomachi Underground project>
Kyota Takahashi
Minatomachi Underground project

 1. Introduction

The title of this project is "Rapt!" Suggesting as it does the state of being "immersed" or "absorbed" in something, the word expresses one characteristic of contemporary Japanese youth culture.
Among the notable trends in youth culture that have emerged since the late 1990s are the widespread use of cell phones and Channel 2 (one of Japan's most popular BBS sites).

Lieko Shiga <Untitled #5>
Lieko Shiga
Untitled #5
Courtesy: the artist

On the one hand, the fact that young people are enjoying a mass-consumption lifestyle, but at the same time, becoming absorbed in their own world without any relation to the society around them, might be considered negative. On the other hand, it is possible for artists, while "immersing" themselves in something, to arrive at positive results by leaping into an imaginative realm that is divorced from existing value systems. It is this ambiguity that we refer to as "rapt."

In addition, the increasing importance of the Internet has made it possible to break free from the fixed dichotomy that once separated the individual and the world. And at the same time, a variety of other dichotomies that have been maintained as unshakable values in modern society such as part/ whole, chaos/ order, artificial/ natural, machine/ human, and center/ periphery have begun to lose their meaning or are becoming expressions that no longer offer valid possibilities. This might be seen as one of the most distinctive trends in Japanese contemporary culture.

"Rapt!20 Contemporary Artists from Japan" is a project designed for Australia that focuses on contemporary art that is currently being produced under these social circumstances in Japan. It is one of many events planned for the 2006 Australia–Japan Year of Exchange.


Shuji Takatori, Yasuko Furuichi, Keiko Matsuzawa
Visual Arts Div., Arts Dept, The Japan Foundation
Official Internet site: http://rapt.jpf-sydney.org/

 3. Summary of Main Project

  1. 1)Collaborative Planning
    Through a series of surveys and discussions, Japanese and Australian curators and researchers have jointly planned the project.
    • In May 2005, Japanese curators visited Australia to research the local art scene.
    • In September 2005, Australian curators visited Japan to research the local art scene.
    • In February 2006, a planning and implementation meeting was held in Australia.
    • In March 2006, three public seminars were held in Tokyo.
  2. 2)Concept: "Contemporary Japan"
    All of the participants, paying close attention not only to the results but also to the process, resolved to include the following four elements to realize the concept:
    1) curatorial exchange, 2) thought, 3) residence, and 4) exhibition.
  3. 3)Form/ time frame for implementation
    1. (1)Artist-in-residence programs (July–September 2006):
      Six artists are participating in residence programs in Melbourne, Perth, Darwin, Brisbane, and Sydney. Through the relationships they form with local residents, the artists are being exposed to new influences and forms of creativity.
    2. (2)Exhibitions and workshops (August–November 2006):
      Museums, art galleries, and alternative spaces in Melbourne have formed a network with public spaces to exhibit works by groups of 20 artists. This is an attempt to permeate the city with the air of contemporary Japan.
    3. (3)Symposium (October 14, 2006):
      In Melbourne, specialists in a variety of fields from Japan and Australia will discuss contemporary Japanese society and art. As a preliminary event, three public seminars based on the theme of contemporary Japanese culture were held in Tokyo in February and March.


1) Artist-in-residence programs (venue/ period)

Yuken Teruya Artspace (Sydney) 31 July–25 Sept.
Yuki Kimura Monash University Museum of Art (Melbourne) 2 Aug. 7 Sept.
Lieko Shiga Institute of Modern Art (Brisbane) 2 Aug.30 Sept.
Tadasu Takamine 24HR Art (Darwin) 6 Sept.22 Sept.
Shiro Takatani Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (Perth) 6 Sept.–15 Sept.
Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces (Melbourne) 16 Sept.–30 Sept.
Kyota Takahashi Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces (Melbourne) Oct. (to be announced on website)

2) Exhibitions (venue/period)

Atelier Bow-Wow City Square (Melbourne) 24 Aug.–2 Sept.
Atelier Bow-Wow / Yuken Teruya Object Gallery (Sydney) 2 Sept.–5 Nov.
Yuki Kimura / Tomoaki Ishihara /
Nobuya Hoki
Monash University Museum of Art (Melbourne)
6 Sept.–18 Nov.
Hirofumi Katayama / Asako Narahashi /
Kazuna Taguchi / Tomoko Konoike
Centre for Contemporary Photography (Melbourne) 8 Sept.–21 Oct.
Yuken Teruya / Tadasu Takamine Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces (Melbourne)
29 Sept.–21 Oct.
Shiro Takatani / Ryoko Aoki + Zon Ito West Space (Melbourne) 29 Sept.–21 Oct.
Shiro Takatani Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (Perth)
Sept. (to be announced on website)
Jin Kurashige / Yutaka Sone RMIT Project Space (Melbourne)
2 Oct.–27 Oct.
Naohiro Ukawa Kings Artist Run Initiative (Melbourne)
7 Oct.–28 Oct.
Lieko Shiga Seventh Gallery (Melbourne)
10 Oct.–4 Nov.
Kyota Takahashi Spacement Gallery (Melbourne)
10 Oct–29 Oct.
Rei Naito Nillumbik Shire's Birrarung (Eltham[near Melbourne])
13 Oct.–29 Oct. (Open Fri.Sun.)

3) Workshops/ Lectures

Atelier Bow-Wow 24 , 25 Aug., 29 Aug.–2 Sept.
Atelier Bow-Wow + Taira Nishizawa 26 Aug.–28 Aug.
Venue: City Square (Melbourne)

4) Public Projection or Performance

Kyota Takahashi12 & 13 Oct. (planned at a public building in Melbourne)

5) Grand Opening Activities in Melbourne

12 Oct. -Project Launch Celebration (venue: Loop)
13 Oct. -Bus trip to view Rei Naito’s artworks Funaokuri and its ceremony
14 Oct. -Symposium (venue: The Asialink Centre)

*For further information on the programs, please visit our official internet site or contact the Japan Foundation office mentioned on page1.

 5. Rapt! Credits

  1. (1)20 Participating Artists Atelier Bow-Wow, Taira Nishizawa, Nobuya Hoki, Lieko Shiga, Tomoaki Ishihara, Yutaka Sone, Ryoko Aoki + Zon Ito, Kazuna Taguchi, Hirofumi Katayama, Kyota Takahashi, Yuki Kimura, Tadasu Takamine, Tomoko Konoike, Shiro Takatani, Jin Kurashige, Yuken Teruya, Rei Naito, Naohiro Ukawa, Asako Narahashi
  2. (2)<Curators>
    Yukihiro Hirayoshi (Curator, the National Museum of Art, Osaka)
    Shihoko Iida (Curator, Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery)
    Fumihiko Sumitomo (Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo)

    <Japanese Curatorial Advisors >
    Taro Igarashi (Architectural Historian / Associate Professor, Tohoku University)
    Akihiro Kitada (Sociologist / Associate Professor, The University of Tokyo)
    Kyoji Maeda (Staff Writer, Cultural News Department, The Yomiuri Shimbun)

    <Australian Curatorial Advisors>
    Philip Brophy (Artist/ Curator/ Lecturer/ Performer/ Writer)
    Max Delany (Artistic Director, Monash University Museum of Art)
    Blair French (Executive Director, Artspace)
    Lily Hibberd (Artist/ Editor, un. magazine)
    Kathryn Hunyor (Communications Manager, Object: Australian Centre for Craft and Design)
    Jeff Khan (Communication Manager, Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces)
    Stuart Koop (Independent Curator/ Senior Arts Officer, Arts Victoria)
    Robert Leonard(Director, Institute of Modern Art)
    Simon Maidment (Director, West Space)
    Hannah Mathews (Curator, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts)
    Karra Rees (Assistant Curator, Centre for Contemporary Photography)
    Louise-Anne Zahra (RMIT Project Space)

    <Australian Project Team>
    Simon Maidment (Project Manager / Director, West Space)
    Angela Brophy (Project Assistant and Marketing Manager)

  3. (3)Organizers : The Japan Foundation
  4. (4)Australian Partner Organisations
    24HR Art (Darwin)
    Central TAFE (Melbourne)
    Centre for Contemporary Photography (Melbourne)
    City of Melbourne (Melbourne)
    Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces (Melbourne)
    Institute of Modern Art (Brisbane)
    Kings Artist Run Initiative (Melbourne)
    Monash University Faculty of Art and Design (Melbourne)
    Monash University Museum of Art (Melbourne)
    Nillumbik Shire Council (Eltham(near Melbourne))
    Object Gallery (Sydney)
    RMIT Faculty of the Constructed Environment (Melbourne)
    RMIT Project Space (Melbourne)
    School of Art, Victorian College of the Arts (Melbourne)
    Seventh Gallery (Melbourne)
    Spacement Gallery (Melbourne)
    West Space (Melbourne)
    Artspace (Sydney)
    Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (Perth)
    The Asialink Centre (Melbourne)

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