• Greetings

    photograph SAITO Sadamu

    People who come to the exhibition often ask me “Amabiki happens once in two years, right?” It takes strength to carry on. The kind understanding of the community, and of the people who come time and again to touch the works, is a great encouragement. But that question makes me feel a little uneasy, and I say “well, there’s no rule that says it has to be that way”, and start into a long-winded explanation, saying things like “All the artists work on it voluntarily. The Amabiki Village and Sculpture Executive Committee which stages the event is not made up of public agencies and planners, it’s an autonomous gathering of all the exhibitors taking individual responsibility. The executive committee forms for each exhibition and dissolves after it. The will to stage the event comes from the participating artists who make up the committee, and they run everything that involves work and decisions”.
    It might be better to describe Amabiki 2008 as the seventh time the exhibition happens, rather than the seventh regular instance. It is normal for anything to lose its initial ideals and become a hollow shell if it is repeated enough times, but now, after more than ten years, I feel that every single Amabiki Village and Sculpture event is linked along the single path of creating works and believing in art. The participants always have the perception that this time will happen because last time did. The more sincere their attitude as creators, the more likely they are to notice important little details that could get overlooked or dropped, and pick them up carefully. They reflect those things in their next new works and present them as an exhibition.
    This time, the exhibition is one element in the “23rd National Cultural Festival – Ibaraki 2008”. Once, we firmly refused to participate. That was based on our view that becoming one part of a government project would damage the independence of the event. It took several months of debate before we finally decided to participate. Our conclusion was partly a response to a request from nearby Sakuragawa City, which has cooperated with us for many years. The decision shows our confidence that “Amabiki Village and Sculpture” could find a way to make a small impression. Of course, we were well aware, in reaching our decision, that we should not stick egotistically to any one course.

    November 9th, 2008
    Amabiki Village and Sculpture, Executive Committee
    INOUE Masayuki

  • About the exhibition of AMABIKI 2008

    The Surroundings of the Sculptures

    The scenery of the village hillsides, which I have visited so often, is beautiful. It is good in different ways in each season. For artists of “Amabiki Village and Sculpture”, the scenery is certainly the first thing that sustains their passion. As you walk through the woods, there are works that reveal themselves little by little. There are sculptures that are seen from afar on the paths between rice fields, and come gradually closer. Others appear suddenly round a bend in the road. Sculptures of various forms are dotted through the hillsides of the village.
    The participating artists visited this area many times, starting over a year ago, looking for the right spots to place their works. It’s a pleasure, but it’s also difficult. The act of deciding where to put your sculpture amid the broad expanses of village hillsides is the same as starting to create the work. Besides the actual installation site, the journey to encounter the sculpture is also an epilogue to the space that surrounds it. Artists are, in a broad sense, required to have this kind of spatial perception and feel for the air of a place. Where many works are installed, the strong feeling that they exert a presence, rather than merely decorating the place, is an expression of the individual artists’ deep concern for space.
    The independent running of Amabiki Village and Sculpture is certainly one of its greatest characteristics. That independent operation is tough, and for the artists it is a harsh burden. But what we get in exchange for that toughness is huge. For the artists, staging an exhibition in which everything is determined by ourselves, either individually or collectively, is like stripping ourselves bare. There are few environments in which we can expose ourselves and express our thoughts in the shape of our works, and it is the search for such places that is really the “tough” thing for us.
    One point in which this Amabiki Village and Sculpture is very different from those before is that it is a kind of participation in Ibaraki prefecture’s national festival of culture. The artists were very worried that this exhibition, which has continued in the simple form of an independent operation, could lose some of that simplicity. Discussions over whether or not to join in went on for several months of discussions, once a month.
    The book “Forgotten Japanese” by the folklore scholar MIYAMOTO Tsuneichi describes community gatherings in long-ago farming villages. We can’t help noticing, with a wry smile, that the scene is very close to the way “Amabiki Village and Sculpture” works. In farming villages long past, the discussions continued endlessly for even trivial decisions, until all villagers agreed, sometimes going on around the clock for days.
    “Amabiki Village and Sculpture” takes its time, like those villagers in “Forgotten Japanese”, and in future it will go on with its leisurely progress.

    YAMAZAKI Takashi, participating artist

  • Documents of AMABIKI 2008

    Documentation of AMABIKI 2008

    Sakura viewing party *Meeting to consider the next exhibition with participants of AMABIKI 2006 together.

    First Preparatory Meeting
    *Deliberate over an the offer from “The Sakuragawa City Executive Committee for the 23rd National Cultural Festival (NCF)”. *Adopt “Amabiki Village and Sculpture 2008” as the official event Japanese title of the exhibition name, and with “AMABIKI 2008” as the English title.

    Second Preparatory Meeting
    *Report from the members in charge of the NCF Project Meeting. *Deliberate our proposed precondition to participate in NCF over supporting data, after the meeting.

    First General Meeting
    *Confirmation of the intention to participate in the exhibition in 2008. *Deliberate over the budget. *Determine the suitability of the new artists. *Report from the members in charge of the NCF Project Meeting.

    Second General Meeting
    *Report from the members in charge of the NCF Project Meeting. *Confirm participating artists, nominate new artists. *Inspection visit by all participants around candidate area to set up.

    Third General Meeting
    *Adopt installation area after discussion. *Determine the AMABIKI 2008 Executive Committee chairperson. *Introduce new artists to all participants.

    Fourth General Meeting
    *Deliberate over the proposed installation area, and the proceedings thereafter. *Determine designer. *Deliberate over officers and managers for various tasks. *Report from NCF Project Meeting.

    Fifth General Meeting
    *Explain how to determine installation locations for all artists and required documentation. *Determine officers and managers for all tasks. *Proposal for contents of the website.

    Sixth General Meeting
    *Explain lead up to determining installation locations. *Install representative for “The Society of Compulsory Educators for Study of Fine Art in the Region (SCES FAR)” as per the request from Culture Department of Sakuragawa City. *Reports from the various Managers on small works exhibition, reception, volunteers and accounting.

    Seventh General Meeting
    *Report outcome of the negotiations for determining installation locations. *Explain and deliberate over the budget. *Reports and explanation from the relevant managers on Municipal Publication, small works exhibition, telephone communication network, SCESFAR, etc.

    Eighth General Meeting
    *Confirming acceptance (permission, agreement) of installation location. *Report budget, accounting, ante (subscription, due) etc. *Deliberate over the printing schedule, photo shooting, print shop, etc. *Reports and explanation from each manager, Bus tours, and Municipal Publication etc.

    Ninth General Meeting
    *Presentation and deliberation of the exhibition course plan. *Determine the schedule for the bus tours. *Deliberate details of the small works exhibition at the Gallery SEIHO. *Report from the NCF Project Meeting. *Cherry blossom viewing party after the meeting (at the old Amabiki Station).

    Tenth General Meeting
    *Introduce the officer in charge of NCF from the Lifelong Learning Department. *Inspection visit by all participants with the aim of examining installation points and assessing the need for venue signage /warning signs. *Report on the appearing schedule in the city news magazine.

    Eleventh General Meeting
    *Proposal and explanation for posters and fliers, and discussion. *Explanation of exhibition course and bicycle course. *Report recent situation actual state of Art Culture Group. SCESFAR. *Proposal for the event by volunteer staff of (at Yamato nade shiko-an). *Reports and explanation from each manager, Press, Sign planning, Bus tours, Social events, Reception, Accounting, Publication etc.

    Twelfth General Meeting
    *Determine poster design and confirm the contents. *Report estimation of print and confirm the deadline of manuscript submission. *Reports and explanation from each manager, SCESFAR, Opening ceremony, Venue management, Reception, “Yamato nade shiko-an” and others.

    Thirteenth General Meeting
    *Report changinges of some installation locations. *Reports from The Sakuragawa City Executive Committee for the 23rd NCF. *Checking and correcting manuscripts for posters and fliers. *Work to sending out direct mails. *Report of delivery and installation of small work Planning Exhibition. *Reports and explanation from Managers of Signage plans, Publicity, Sculpture delivery and removal, Social events, Comments etc.

    Satellite small work exhibition plan “INVITATION for AMABIKI 2008” / Planning Exhibition. (Gallery SEIHO, Ginza, Tokyo)

    Fourteenth General Meeting
    *Work to prepare sending out printed material (posters, fliers, direct mails etc). *Manufacture notice boards and signage etc. *Confirmation of the deadline of artist’s comments and captions. *Reports and explanation from Managers of Insurance, Opening ceremony, Reception, Publicity, Delivery and installation of works, Press, Rental bicycles and other issues.

    Starting operation at the venue, start delivery and installation of works.

    Installation of all works using large cranes (25t, 8t)

    Staging the AMABIKI 2008
    *Opening ceremony 11:00 (Yamato Community Center CITRUS). *Tea party 11:30.

    Rest house “Yamato nade shiko-an” staffed by volunteers (Hananoiri Park), every Sunday during the period excluding October 26.
    SOBA demonstration and sale by the Handmade Buckwheat noodle Appreciation Society- a voluntary group named, “Teuchi-Soba-Daisuki-kai” (Higashi-iida Village Center) every Sunday during the period; also October 13, and Holiday November 3, excluding November 26.

    First bus tour 10:40-16:00, two buses.

    The 23rd National Cultural Festival Ibaraki 2008

    Second bus tour 10:00-16:00, two buses.

    Closing of the AMABIKI 2008

    Clear venues
    *Start removing all the carrying out works using large cranes (25t, 8t). *Start editing the photographic record.

    Fifteenth General Meeting
    *Preparing to send the photographic record, sending the photographic record.

    Membership of the Executive Committee for AMABIKI 2008

    We held the AMABIKI 2008 with a section of the National Cultural Festival Ibaraki 2008 Executive Committee in the Lifelong Learning Department of Sakuragawa City.
    In early 2007, we received an offer to hold the AMABIKI Exhibition as one of the participating events of the National Cultural Festival Ibaraki 2008 from the Lifelong Learning Department of Sakuragawa City.
    In April the same year, we started discussions about the offer from the City with the all AMABIKI 2006 members gathered together. After two long discussions we decided to request a precondition to accept the City’s offer. If they agreed to host Amabiki without compromising our unique style that we strived to maintain over the course of the previous 6 exhibitions then we could take part in the National Cultural Festival.
    Fortunately, the City agreed to our proposal so we accepted the offer that the AMABIKI Exhibition temporarily became one of the participating events of the NCF-Ibaraki 2008.
    In June, 42 artists organized the independent “AMABIKI 2008 Executive Committee” as in the previous exhibitions. We carried out our planning / operation of the AMABIKI 2008 the same as usual. We also had general meetings once every month for 16 months until the exhibition opened on the 28th September 2008. The exhibition ran for two months in total with one week running in association with the NCF-Ibaraki event, the exhibition closed on the 30th November 2008.
    Executive committee 42 participating artists

    Executive committee managers:

    AMABIKI 2008 took place through the below division of labor.
    Executive Committee chairman / Secretariat / Accounting / Moderator / Secretary / PR / Subsidies / Press / Website / Poster and flier records / Venues / Sculpture delivery and removal / Sign planning and installation / Captions / Information center management / Comments / Opening / Reception / Bus tours / Volunteers / Venue management (security) / Social events / Sketch exhibition / Photographic record / Information management / Municipal reports / Liaisons of “23rd National Cultural Festival – Ibaraki 2008” / Liaison of The Society of compulsory educators for study of Fine Art in the region