Japan Pavilion at the 57th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia in 2017: Message from the Artist

Message from the Artist

I was born and raised in Hiroshima, and continue to work as an artist based in Hiroshima today.
On this occasion, the curator, Meruro Washida, approached me to make a suggestion that made me feel very excited. He explained that while it may have seemed difficult to exhibit in the Japan Pavilion when drawing up the display plan, the aim was to create an exhibition that highlighted the interesting aspects of unique architecture in an interactive manner.

When I looked at the cross-section drawing of the Japan Pavilion again, I saw that the four pillars rising from the piloti on the first floor served as the walls of the exhibition room on the second floor, and the ceiling of the first floor was also the floor of the second floor. It felt just like a boundary separating the sea and land.

I wanted the visitors to observe Itsukushima Shrine in Hiroshima, which offers a different view depending on the tides, and the view as seen from 0 m above sea level, such as the streets of Venice, from a hole in the center of the ceiling of the first floor. With that in mind, I drew up the plan.

By creating the different perspectives of looking upward/looking downward for the first exhibit, I hope to create a multifaceted spatial experience, instead of a consistent space that is viewed from only one perspective like a perspective drawing.

Grasping the scale of the bird’s-eye view, observing details from an “insect’s-eye view,” and switching to the distorted perspective of a “fish’s-eye view” naturally encourages the viewer to move the body and eyes skillfully in order to crouch down with bated breath, draw closer, or move farther away. Furthermore, as the differing perspectives of artificial vs. natural, order vs. chaos, and history vs. present complement each other, I hope that the viewers will become aware of the fragility of things, the flow of the passage of time, and the trompe-l’oeil effect of changing perception.

More than anything else, I hope that we will be able to create an enjoyable exhibition.

Takahiro Iwasaki

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