Yokohama Triennale reviewed for Canadian Art online

by | Aug 27, 2014 | Writing | 0 comments

Last month, I was invited to participate in a press tour of the Yokohama Triennale and the Sapporo International Art Fair, two triennial art festivals in Japan that each meditated on local histories of development and the legacies of modernism on contemporary art. While the Sapporo festival—the first of its kind in the city—was a massive, multi-venue project that activated the local history of the island and presented some ambitious public installations, it was the Yokohama Triennale exhibition that held my attention and fascination the longest, particularly for the ways it both borrowed from and liberally improvised upon the themes of Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451 (a nostalgic favourite text of mine, perhaps because I got to read it on my own and not in a high school-mandated English class. The François Truffaut film adaption is its own head-spinning interpretation of the book). I also couldn’t shake the vision of the Yokohama Home Collection, a strange “housing park” located right across the street from one of the triennial’s main locations, which seemed like an explicit manifestation of some of the problems of late capitalist real estate development and speculation. The Wikimapia description of the place says it all: “Nobody resides here.”

The triennial was a massive exhibition of more than 400 works, but for the most part, the exhibition worked, offering small moments of contemplation, historical conjunction and even laughter (everyone should listen to Marcel Broodthaers’s Interview with a Cat) amid the blockbuster exhibition spaces and chaos of some of the works. I tried to draw some links between these various moments of connection in a review for Canadian Art that went online today.

Sadly, I didn’t get a chance to write about Elias Hansen‘s incredible sculptures, which, along with Yuko Mohri‘s works, were one of my favourite discoveries of the trip. The man’s titles alone are worth writing home about.