“Fujisawa Past and Present/Machinaka Art Tour 2016” connects the history of the former Tokaido to the future
Start with cleaning
—Fujisawa Please tell us about the origins of the past and present/machinaka art tour.
Ito : The four founders, including myself and Sasaki, all graduated from art universities and have participated in solo exhibitions and artist-in-residence programs. When I was young, I was mostly active in Tokyo and Yokohama, but when I looked back at my hometown, I felt that it was hollowing out. Fujisawa City did not originally have a museum or art gallery, so when we were looking for a place where we could create a place for such activities, we decided to visit post stations from the Edo period, the Warring States period, and the Kamakura period. After coming into contact with the remains from the Heian period, I thought it would be possible to use art to preserve and utilize the historical heritage of this area, which was the cornerstone of Fujisawa and a place where people gathered from early on.
It all started at a kimono store called Inamotoya, which is also one of the venues this time. This is a large store that represents Fujisawa-juku, and Emperor Meiji once stayed there on his visit, and there is a monument on the south side of the hill to mark this fact. There are two gardens and a storehouse left, and with the understanding of the owners, in 2010 we started the ``Fujisawa Past, Past, and Future Machinaka Art Tour'' with them and several galleries. Next, in 2011, we opened the former Kamata Shoten, which had been mainly used for the Japanese paper business since the early Showa era, and in 2012, we opened the former Kamata Shoten, which had been a rice fertilizer business since the early Meiji era, and the Arita family. In 2014, Old Ishisone Shoten gradually gained understanding in this way.
Since my second year, I have been receiving some support from Professor Asae Ozawa of Tokai University, who has done a lot of research on Japanese architecture, so it was easier to gain understanding in places where Professor Asae was involved. there is.
Before last year, we held exhibitions outdoors, including at Shirahata Shrine, Yugyoji Temple, Benkeizuka, a place owned by Jokoji Temple, and the forest where the Horiuchi family's grave has been since the Sengoku period.
—It was a place that even locals had never heard of before.
Ito : The seaside area of Tsujido, where I have lived for many years, was a relatively new area between 1955 and 1955, consisting of only pine forests and fields, and there are not many historical remains. On the other hand, when we turn our attention to Fujisawa-shuku, we realize that there are many different things, but although some research has been done in the past, most of it has not been utilized, and only a limited amount of information has been released to the public. did. Recently, town-like inheritance districts have been established, and an increasing number of areas are being re-surveyed. Mr. Inamotoya finally became a registered tangible cultural property of the country last year, and Mr. Sekiji this year. When we open the exhibit during the exhibition period, we often see people who have recently moved into an apartment in the area and find out that this place exists for the first time.
Sasaki : Gradually, I began to acquire a perspective that allows me to see historical buildings such as storehouses and temples and shrines.
Ito : Your eyes change. After starting this event, in 2012 I was also certified as a heritage manager for Kanagawa Prefecture, and gained experience in coming up with ideas for utilizing these ruins and managing them.
—What was the condition of the venue building?
Ito : Depending on the location, the initial cleaning was quite difficult.
Sasaki : Once we decided who would be exhibiting, we all put on masks, grabbed brooms, and started cleaning in pitch black.
Ito : There were even artists who turned it into a work of art.
Sasaki : As long as I use it, I maintain it, and when I leave it, I try to make it cleaner than before.
Works born from continuous interaction
—How do you decide on the participating members and the content of the exhibition?
Ito : It's not just a matter of bringing the work to an established museum or gallery and hanging it, so we've been recruiting local people who understand this type of activity and want to support it. hey. Some members are from Chigasaki, Kamakura, and Sakae Ward in Yokohama.
Many of the works are influenced, directly or indirectly, by the history, culture, and environment of the region, but there are also cases where this is left up to the individual artists. Some of the works are based on a theme that each artist has continuously held, and three years ago, an artist who exhibited at Ishisone Shoten, a former footwear store, used Japanese words related to footwear as the theme. It varies depending on the artist, for example, I incorporate yellow, which was the color of the flag of the Sengoku warlords at the time, into the installation.
The work by Hisaya Ito, which will be exhibited at the Arita House this year, is based on the idea that the owner, Mr. Arita, pickles umeboshi every year, so you can try making umeboshi together with him, keep a record of the process, and even taste the umeboshi.
Shinji Murakami is a photographic artist, and he takes photos by following the route from Muryokoji Temple in Sagamihara City, where Tokimune's predecessors lived, to Seijōkoji Temple (Yugyoji Temple), where the fourth Shonin Founder of Tokimune What I'm doing is taking pictures. During the exhibition period, we will show slideshows and project images on the streets in a guerilla style.
If you continue to hold the event, you may notice something for next year. Sasaki exhibited at the same location last year, and this time it is an extension of that series.
Sasaki : After doing it a few times, I get a vague idea of where and how I want to do it. In fact, there are many artists who create works tailored to the location.
Reconsider your roots through cross-cultural exchange
—Please tell us the highlights of this year.
Ito : The biggest feature of this year is that three artists came from the Republic of Latvia and we held artist-in-residence roles. I would like you to see their works. In addition, from the 22nd onwards, you can see the illumination for about 2 hours from the evening. The lighting has been going on since 2013, but since last year it has been enriched thanks to Masayuki Fushimi, an artist who usually works on landscape lighting with a team called the Wright Brothers. This year, he is exhibiting video works in the outer storage on the south side of Inamotoya.
On the 22nd, the first day of the illumination, we will gather at the newly opened Fujisawa Community Center and walk around each venue from around 5:30 pm. We plan to have artists at the venue as much as possible to give short artist talks and explanations of the building.
Sasaki : You can come and walk by yourself while looking at the map on the flyer, and there will be someone at the venue. If you collect the stamps at each venue, you can receive goods handmade by the artists.
—How did your exchange with Latvia begin?
Sasaki : In 2006 and 2007, when I participated in the residency at the "International Outdoor Expression Exhibition" held in Hiki-gun, Saitama Prefecture, artists from various countries came, and I also talked with Laura, one of the participating artists this time. We really hit it off. She has a wealth of experience and skill, and her father is also a sculptor and runs a residence business in Latvia.
Ito : She came here for two years in a row, and we toured galleries in Tokyo together, and we kept in touch after that. Once we got things going, we approached them and had them participate for the first time two years ago. The year before last, other Swedish artists were also participating. Before that, we had invited French artists with whom we had connections, but Latvia is not really introduced much in Japan, and if you look into it, there's a lot to learn.
It became independent from the Russian Empire in 1918 after World War I, was later incorporated into the Soviet Union, and became independent again in 1990, maintaining its unique handicrafts and rich natural environment. . The old town of Riga, the capital, is also registered as a World Heritage Site. Although there are hardships, there is a sense of their own unique culture and wisdom. Japan may have a strong image of being an economic powerhouse, but learning about different cultures through these activities is important because we are facing an aging population and a declining population. I wonder if there's a point in looking at it again.
Last year, the residency was closed, but for this year's event, Laura was in charge of selecting the Latvian side. Additionally, during the preparation period, the embassy visited us with the deputy diplomat of the Republic of Latvia in Japan.
Sasaki : The girls really want to know a little bit about Latvia, so when I asked them to explain the location of the country on a map, or explain the food and culture of the country, they were enthusiastic. Masu.
Ito : I haven't visited Latvia yet, so next time I'd like to go there and do some production work there.