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Interview with Yasumasa Morimura

Translations:

Category: interview

It was announced on December 18 that an artist, Yasumasa Morimura, would be the artistic director of Yokohama Triennale 2014. It is rare that an artist is selected as a director, as it is since 2005 when Tadashi Kawamata performed the executive director. We had an interview with Mr. Morimura to ask his feelings.

―It was a big surprise that you as an artist were designated to be the artistic director of Yokohama Triennale 2014. When actually did you get this offer?

Morimura: It was last summer. Of course I did not even expect to get an offer of being a curator or director. It is probably odd to say, however, I thought “that would be a good idea”.

―Is this your first time to be a director?

Morimura: Yes it is.

―Is there going to be a curator to help you?

Morimura: Yes, since I have been working only as an artist, I do not have enough knowledge as a curator yet. Therefore, I definitely need an experienced hand.

―You are going to work with a curator. What is different from working as an artist?

Morimura: I sometimes got asked about the difference between to be at work and to curate. One thing I can say is that this work is rather holding an exhibition than being at work, because I also work with curators in museums and galleries to have a solo exhibition.

―How do you work with them?

Morimura: I know some have clear, detailed images such as Akira Kurosawa who tries to use his staff members to realize those images faithfully. But that is not my style.

When I have a solo exhibition at a museum, for instance, the one who knows about the museum is a curator there. I cast my images on them. Each of them gets each concept freely based on my images to expand them by spirals. That is my ideal to make an exciting exhibition. And I think that this job as an artistic director follows as an extension of that. You cannot expand images too much as you cannot afford it, though!

―It seems to be totally different from what you do usually.

Morimura: Yes. I had a talk with Ms. Eriko Aisaka, who is not only the curator of Yokohama Museum of Art but a chairman of Yokohama Triennale Committee, and I asked her what ‘curation’ means. It usually means three aspects; education to spread art to public, research to present it as an exhibition, and creation to make an exhibition one piece of work by showing works.

That is why I analyzed, but I was wondering if there would be something more important. And what I came up with after the talk is ‘love’, though it sounds a bit romantic.

―’Love’, ha.

Morimura: Yes. What you like to see or what you simply like is all based on love. If each work has love from curators, the exhibition would be a great one.

Education, research and creation are functions of curation. Moreover, I think that love toward works in the exhibition is the most important.

Also, I want to avoid selecting artists due to their popularity or the potential number of visitors. This is also my ideal, though.

I became one to choose from the one to be chosen. When someone ask me why the particular work is shown at the exhibition, ‘that is because I like it’ is going to be a strong reason to convince people.

―So what kind of exhibition do you want it to be?

Morimura: I want the whole landscape to be seen clearly.

―The landscape?

Morimura: Yes. An international exhibition tends to be across-the-broad since a large number of artists attend. Sometimes every international exhibition looks all the same to me. That is why I am planning to show a stable image at Yokohama Triennale 2014.

(In Ginza on Jan. 12)

Yokohama Triennale 2014

Date: Early August until early November

Main Venue: Yokohama Museum of Art and Shinko Pier

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