• Message

    photograph SAITO Sadamu

    In this prosperous village of stone businesses and agriculture located in the Midwest of Ibaraki Prefecture, an exhibition that started from seven persons was held for the fifth time. We have been holding these exhibitions for eight years in various seasons, and it seems, we, the participating artists, have ballooned to as many as 45. Though we pay the expense of monthly meetings, participating and, of course, all things concerning our art works, we are increasing in number. It might be because we are compelled and fascinated with the power which this exhibition has.
    We put each work in its respective place and observe the appearance of seasons passing. We exchange salutations with passers-by and have short conversations. These experiences cannot be tasted in art museums or galleries. Moreover, in frequent meetings artists criticize the works mutually, offer opinions, and spar over fine art and this exhibition. It is also the spirit as well as the pleasure of participation.
    Without criticizing from an overly arrogant attitude about the present condition of fine art and society, in that place each participant is concerned with his or her own self and with reverently facing the nature before us. The mountain of this village is traced with lives to every nook and corner. Therefore, it does not accept a work of exaggerated style or cheap tricks. Each time we think that each of us is tested in this reality.
    Checking our own steps, we want to continue following the trial footprints of the last eight years and searching for the whereabouts of the future steps in this small village.

    31th October 2003
    Executive committee of Amabiki Village and Sculpture

  • About the 5th Exhibition of Amabiki Village and Sculpture

    The land spreads out, sloping gently to the mountain behind the village. Yamato village, venue for the Exhibition of Amabiki Village and Sculpture, is also the beginning of the Kanto plain where the Tokyo metropolitan area resides to the south. A river flows through the village, which is dotted with homes and stone mills where the land is flat. The figures of people working the broad fields and rice paddies appear tiny in the distance. Occasionally, trucks drive past, laden with pure-white granite. Against the sky, the running clouds and Mt. Tsukuba change their appearance from moment to moment. Mt. Amabiki, thickly forested, rises at the edge of the village.
    For a long time, art has developed far away from village life. Sculpture soon came to demand “a white cube” as its surroundings. Autonomous works became divorced from any specific location. The Exhibition of Amabiki Village and Sculpture brings together a diverse group of artists, who collaborate with the villagers to imprint their individual ideas and expressions on soil that is at once old and new, through their works of art and sculpture.
    Preparations for the exhibition began over a year before it was due to open. If anyone noticed a problem, they shared it with everyone, and the group spent the time to solve every problem carefully. Everybody knew that however good the exhibition was, its success would depend on the quality of the exhibits. Nevertheless, we kept on discussing everything, sometimes heatedly, looking for any improvements we could make to the exhibition. This year, once again, the time we spent together in this simple but arduous work supported the special character of the Exhibition of Amabiki Village and Sculpture, which is more than a jumble of private outdoor exhibits.
    With each successive exhibition, our relationship with the local people gets a little better. By the end of the Fifth Exhibition, many of us, not just the exhibiting artists, were already looking forward to the next time. But we are about to lose our common land, our Yamato village, to the Heisei-era drive for municipal mergers. What will happen next? It is too soon to answer that question. All the artists gathered here are keeping calm, continuing to discuss. This year, the Exhibition of Amabiki Village and Sculpture reached the age of eight, and the future still holds many good things. The most important thing is to keep going forward, unhurriedly, one step at a time.
    I have just finished clearing away my work, and now, as evening draws in, I am standing on a path in the village, looking round, a little bemused, at the place where my work stood until so recently. As I look back on the days I spent visiting this site, through the seasons for over a year, my mind is already leaping forward to next time. In the pale twilight, tranquility is returning to the mountainside scenery after an interlude of two months, but it looks just a little broader and more noble than it did before.

    5th November 2003
    Participating Artist, Sculptor
    TODA Yusuke

  • Documents of the 5th Exhibition

    The Fifth Amabiki Village and Sculpture – Document

    25th August 2002 (Sunday)
    First General Meeting
    * Fifth Amabiki Village and Sculpture Executive Committee formed.
    * Operating Committee also formed.
    * Viewing of planned exhibition area.

    10th November 2002 (Sunday)
    Second General Meeting
    * Officers and managers determined.
    * Collection of participation fees.

    8th December 2002 (Sunday)
    Third General Meeting
    * Consideration of sculpture installation locations.
    Determination of designers for posters, diagrams, sign planning etc.
    Status reports from officers.

    26th January 2003 (Sunday)
    Fourth General Meeting
    * Consideration of installation locations.
    Search for landowners of the sculpture installation locations, with district leaders in attendance.
    Consideration of plans by officers.

    23rd February 2003 (Sunday)
    Fifth General Meeting
    * Consideration and determination of installation locations.
    * Consideration of events etc.
    * Proposals etc. from the venue management officer and volunteer officer.

    23rd March 2003 (Sunday)
    Sixth General Meeting
    * Consideration of the design and content of posters and flyers.
    * Determination of the exhibition viewing route.

    13th April 2003 (Sunday)
    Seventh General Meeting
    * Consideration of the design and content of posters and flyers.
    * Submission of written reports and budgets from officers.

    25th May 2003 (Sunday)
    Eighth General Meeting
    * Coordination of the design and content of posters, flyers and DM.
    * Consultation on exhibitions of sketches, events etc.

    22nd June 2003 (Sunday)
    Ninth General Meeting
    * Posters, flyers and DM determined.
    * Venue signs, captions, notice boards etc. considered, including budgets.
    * Consultation on exhibitions of sketches, artists’ comments, and installation of works.

    20th July 2003 (Sunday)
    Tenth General Meeting
    Posters and DMs etc. sent out.

    3rd August 2003 (Sunday)
    Eleventh General Meeting
    Gathering of data close to the viewing route, for drafting a detailed map.

    8th August (Friday) to 20th August (Wednesday) 2003
    Venue opening and sculpture delivery period.

    18th August (Monday) – 30th August (Saturday) 2003
    Related event “To Amabiki” staged (Gallery SEIHO, Ginza, Tokyo).
    Planning and sketch exhibition, leading to the main exhibition.

    21st August 2003 (Thursday)
    Installation of signposts and building the information center.

    23rd August 2003 (Saturday)
    The opening of the Fifth Exhibition of Amabiki Village and Sculpture
    Opening ceremony (Yamato Contact Center Citrus).

    24th August (Sunday) – 3rd November (Sunday)
    “Yamato Nadeshiko An” opened, staffed by volunteers.
    Demonstrations of soba noodle making by the Handmade Soba Appreciation Society (at community centers around the exhibition area).

    7th September 2003 (Sunday)
    Bus tour No. 1 (10:30-17:00).

    25th September 2003 (Thursday)
    * Reporting by NHK Mito office, to be broadcast on “Itto 6 ken” on 16th October.

    4th October (Saturday) – 6th October (Monday) 2003
    Guiding the members of the Yamato Summit (summit meeting between municipalities bearing the name “Yamato”).

    3rd October 2003 (Monday)
    Bus tour No. 2 (10:30-17:00).

    12th October 2003 (Thursday)
    Moon-viewing party (Yamato village Ikoinoie Building).

    2nd November 2003 (Sunday)
    Countryside meeting “Amabiki Village and Sculpture – Its efforts and rewards” (Citrus).
    Exhibition gratitude party and closing party (Amabiki Welfare Center).

    3rd November 2003 (Sunday)
    Exhibition closed.

    4th November 2003 (Monday)
    Start of removal of sculptures.

    5th November 2003 (Tuesday)
    Start of catalog production.

    21st December 2003 (Sunday)
    Twelfth General Meeting
    Catalog correction.

    February 2004
    Thirteenth General Meeting
    Catalog sent out.

    The Membership of the Executive Committee for the Fifth Amabiki Village and Sculpture

    As in previous years, the executive committee for the Fifth Amabiki Village and Sculpture includes all the participating artists, and officers are chosen for various aspects of planning and running the exhibition, to share out the tasks.
    The number of participating artists grew to 45 for the fifth exhibition, and the number of officers grew as exhibition-related tasks were more narrowly subdivided. Officers included representatives who were able to assign tasks at any time to any member who appears to have time to spare.
    The operating committee system introduced in the fourth exhibition (in which neighboring artists get together to discuss urgent issues in preparation for the next general meeting) is continued without change, and all participants worked together to prepare for and run the exhibition.

    Executive Committee: All 45 participating artists.


    The Fifth Amabiki Village and Sculpture was run with the work divided between the executive committee chairman, operating committee, secretariat, countryside meeting officer, events officer, information center reception officer, information center construction officer, opening ceremony officer, accounts officer, venue officer, venue management and security officer, video recording officer, captions officer, support and sponsorship officer, PR officer, comments officer, round table officer, sign planning officer, sign installation officer, sketch exhibition officer, clerical officer, subsidies officer, bus tour officer, sculpture installation and removal officer, posters, flyers and diagrams officer, homepage officer, volunteer officer, and village reporting officer.