• Message

    Message of the Second Amabiki Village and Sculpture

    In the spring of 1996, a group of sculptors having worked on stone at Yamato village held an exhibition “Amabiki Village and Sculpture” with the aim to recognize again the rural scenery.
    Succeeding the concept of the 1st exhibition, we started to make a plan for the 2nd exhibition in autumn 1997 with the participation of not only stone sculptors but also artist of various genres.
    Such a difficult condition to bear all expenses for the exhibition didn’t shrink artists from participating.
    And 27 of them accepted it and we began to from the exhibition.
    Having held several conferences with participants, public officials of Yamato village and chiefs of wards, artists looked around the grounds to find out suitable location for their works.
    And after fiding the location out, artists directly asked land owners to obtain permission.
    Concerning printed posters and invitations cards, designer and printer helped to collaborated with us.
    Finally, we could realise the “2nd Amabiki Village and Sculpture”.
    Our combined energies to build up this exhibition and through the sculptures playing a part of the rural scene of Amabiki.
    that people would start to reconsider the cultural situation of Japan.

    Executive Committee of
    Amabiki Village and Sculpture

  • Comments from the artists

    Comments from the artists of the Second Amabiki Village and Sculpture

    This is a collection of the participating artists’ ideas about their works, their day-to-day thoughts as they created them, their moods and how they felt about taking part in the 2nd exhibition of Amabiki Village and Sculpture. Click on the name of the artist.

    INOUE Masayuki
    I’m interested in the rice paddy as an artificial space that has been passed down from generation to generation as a place of production. I felt a solid challenge as I went about my work. Being in a place where the bonds of shared work are strong and reveal themselves while trying new approaches to art brings more joy than we expect.

    OHGURI Katsuhiro
    Birds, fish and other small creatures gather in and around the water. A watchtower is a tall building or defensive tower for seeing into the distance, but I wanted to use my carving as a starting point for watching the color of the sky and the level of the water changing in the lake in the background ? for viewing the abundant workings of nature and smaller creatures. During the exhibition, the reflection of red-stained autumnal sunsets on the surface of the water made a lasting impression on me.

    OTSUKI Takayuki
    The appeal of this exhibition is that the venue is not something like an art museum or a park established on the periphery of everyday life. The old railway line is a place where trains used to run, carrying people and goods and linking the village to other places. It now it exists in people’s memories. The fields, paddies and forests are living spaces that generate life through natural growth and the harvesting of crops. The way the carvings entered into the life of Yamato Village was extremely innovative. Above all, the question, What is a sculpture? is asked of us a, like an echo.

    OKAMOTO Atsuo
    There’s a relaxed rural ambience here. I feel that the processes of urbanization and modernization have destroyed something we should have kept and in a sense led to a step backward. Whether it was the scenery, or the farming methods, or the content of daily life, we are not thinking of trying to hold back the waves of change with our own hands. We just want to take the things that are disappearing and mark them in our own hearts one more time.

    KAIZAKI Saburo
    The interior of the chestnut forest was a beautiful space, where the leaves block off the sky and the light filters down. Sweeping away the fallen leaves with a bamboo broom gradually revealed the firm surface of the ground, so that in the end it looked like a limitless earth-floored room. My choice of a low-lying space, and the way the fallen leaves catch the snow, comes from my consideration of the way the work and the soil connect, and I wanted to start my outdoor space from there.

    KOGUCHI Kazuya
    The participants were 27 people with differing ways of expressing their sensibilities. They came into contact with each other in a time and space where they searched for coexistence with their works, struggling with the harsh surface of the materials and the natural environment materials. They have left us with something precious. I have taken ‘being alive’ as my theme for a number of years, and I intended to carry on a dialog with the soil and the living things of the universe around me, in the world of myth. But after the unforgiving aspect of nature broke me down several times, making me keenly aware of my own naivete.
    The visitors must have loved this countryside, with the sculptures dotted around the rice paddy landscape, and enjoyed their fill of it. I want to thank the many people who came to view the exhibition, the people who guided us and worked with us, and the land that gave us this environment.

    SAJI Masahiro
    This exhibition made a bold start with the statement “everything done with our own hands.” This was a key principle for an event managed by the artists themselves. In fact, the time required of us was a much bigger investment than the cost of a hand-made box lunch. I take my hat off to the core members who propelled us forward with their passion. The kind of “fast-breeder reactor” that led to a rise in everyone’s energy was truly of value in the creative process.

    TAKADA Satoru
    It is the irrational nature of humanity that prevents us from unraveling silent spaces and lost time, but there was a hot moment of something here.

    SHIGA Masao
    The platform of the former Amabiki Station evokes events of long ago that can still be heard on the rushing wind.
    I go back through distant memories to listen to people’s murmuring voices.
    The wind gently deposits color in its wake.
    Rain, wind, snow. I lived here for 80 days in winter.
    The artwork entitled “Color of the wind” (Murmurs of Many People) was cremated on 21st January 1998.
    It sleeps in Amabiki Village, in Yamato.

    SHIBATA Tsugio
    They say the chestnut forest chosen for the exhibition area is ten years old. If you’re in this young forest around sunset on a clear day, you can see the long shadows of thin branches, bare of leaves, reaching across the ground. The tree shadows, given their direction by the light of the sun, join natural beauty to a strange kind of orderly pattern.

    The Second Amabiki Village and Sculpture was an encounter between people and 27 sculptures in the rural setting of Yamato Village. I got the feeling that new things not seen in the first exhibition came into view. Perhaps we were able to get village people, who have few opportunities to view works of art and the like, to experience sculptures, and various genres of modern art, both figurative and abstract. Perhaps other viewers were those who frequent art museums and galleries, and maybe they discovered new potential for art in the contrast between sculpture and scenery.

    SUZUKI Norio
    I’ve visited Amabiki Kannon many times when I was a child. The character of the approach path gives one a feeling of its history. I never thought my own work would stand in this place. Taking part in this exhibition has brought me into contact with a variety of works, people and nature, and given me a new awareness of the land of Amabiki, and of myself, as one born and raised here. Now that the exhibition is over, I find that I have a new desire to find out what I can do here, what potential is here.

    TANAKA Tsuyoshi
    Snow also falls on Amabiki Village, making the works stand out. With the help of many others, I was able to put some ideas into play in Amabiki Village. It led to success in overcoming inner difficulties.

    TSUCHIYA Kimio
    I have felt an affinity with mountain scenery since I was a child, so I fell in love with the scenery of Yamato Village from the first time I saw it. I am delighted to have been able to exhibit my own work against the background of these mountains and forests.

    My creative process began with looking for “the place” amid the pastoral landscape. There was no judging, no prizes. There wasn’t even any money. My heart was set free. Tranquil sculpting. The energy that comes from encountering “the place.” The firing of unknown potential. The pleasure and fascination of discovering one’s unknown self. Handcrafted show of sculpture. It was a meeting of 27 unique individuals, and of forming new ties with a good group of friends.

    The passion and tension of the people gathered at the meeting on a slightly muggy afternoon in early summer was different from that in an art museum with event planners. The one reason I decided to participate was that I wanted to look at where I stood from a slightly offset place. Because I make three-dimensional works from ceramics, I am asked all kinds of questions every time I exhibit, and participating in this exhibition was a rare and valuable experience to help me to find the right answers to those questions inside myself.

    I seem to have been a little naive in choosing the image of harmony with nature as one element in my work. The path of the railway line and the rice fields in winter have a hard face to them, harsh enough to chill such emotions. On the other hand, the gently rolling mountains and the trees around the area were more soothing than I expected, gently enfolding the work. I understood the reason amid the snow. Next time I want to work at a time when the buds are swelling or in the broiling heat. Finally, I want to thank the people who gave me this opportunity.

    HATTA Takashi
    The exhibition was a good opportunity for me to look again at what it means for people to gather together. Given a place to put passion into the work, an artist can concentrate his entire mind on that one essential thing. An artist can come to a place like this to place his work, not for the good of the exhibition as a whole, but for his own sake alone. I think the energies of the individual artists fused together to take the overall image of this exhibition in an excellent direction, which was conveyed to the people who came to see it.

    HIRAI Kazuyoshi
    I was allowed to exhibit my work in front of the mountain gate of Amabiki Kannon temple. I use a car myself and can’t be too critical, but most people drive to the temple, rather than pass through the gate that is the proper entrance. What did people long ago think as they visited the temple? I came to the realization that walking can lead to the rediscovery of nature, something we have forgotten in our pursuit of convenience.

    HIROSE Hikaru
    Thinking (the idea), creating (the work) and showing (presentation) are each vitally important and inseparably related. The Amabiki Village and Sculpture exhibition in particular includes experimental elements in the act of showing the work. Twenty-seven pieces of modern art, representing an entirely alien culture, have been placed in Yamato Village, which was supported by farming and quarrying, and still retains some traditional Japanese rural scenery. I want to watch the village through the two-and-a-half months of the exhibition, to see what changes in the usual scenery and what stays the same.

    FUJIKURA Kumiko
    In truth, it might already be too late. Nevertheless, now is a good time to start, and you can start from whenever you notice. If we don’t start doing something, the world could end. With that kind of idea filling my head, I placed my work amid the pastoral scenery with a sense of looking back on the arrogance of humankind and apologizing to the seas and mountains that humans have sullied.

    FUJIMOTO Hitoshisadanari
    The structure of society has become complex and types of work have been diversified. The world of art, which should not really be divided into genres, has begun to diversify in a parallel way. Audiences have become able to choose the plan for exhibitions, so that their mode of viewing has already been organized, even when there is no point of departure for the viewer to encounter the work of art. The Second Amabiki Village and Sculpture took the bold step of not organizing the sculptures by genre. This enabled viewers to return to the starting point of initial recognition.

    MATSUDA Bumpei
    When a pebble is thrown into water, waves radiate out from a single point, then move back to the point where the pebble hit. I think that resembles the creative process. Even if this kind of creative work is not necessary in real life, everybody has it in their life, to a greater or lesser extent. The act of showing my art in Amabiki, a place where real life goes on, moved me in a new way.

    MIYAZAWA Izumi
    Placing the sculpture there somehow made the ordinary things around seem fresh, so that people walked over, looked, and felt the height of the sky as if it was only normal to do so.

    MURAI Shingo
    On 23rd January, after the artwork had been removed, the site became a commonplace scene in which the surrounding chestnut trees, now leafless, blended into the winter background where they had stood in contrast in greener times. The black freshness of the excavated earth, dug out of the slope in a trapezoidal shape, showed how short the two and a half months of the event had been.

    MURAKAMI Tsukumo
    Even if we retain the awe of nature in our hearts, nature itself cannot be expected to remain in the place we enter. The scenery in the places where we lead our daily lives is an artificial kind of nature. Whether it is urban or rural, we must fully recognize that there is a constant, sleepless gaze on us, and be prepared. I pay attention to everything as I search for expression, as proof of an action, driven by a momentary impulse to intrude. Outdoor space is always experimental space.

    MOCHIZUKI Hisaya
    I’d experienced outdoor shows before, but this time I was compelled to feel the diversity of the site, its multiple layers (of time as well).