Read in English Text

Shinbism - “The Here and Now”

Shinshu is blessed with nature. Being motivated by the richness and beauty of nature in Shinshu, a wealth of literary and artistic works have been created here, which fascinate viewers, while healing and encouraging them. It’s understandable that there are so many unique museums here, though not large in sizes. Though some artists are actively working, seeking for new ways of expression and appeal to those inside and outside the prefecture, their number is not so many, however, so far, they have managed to survive to the present day.
Last year, the exhibition of “Shinbism” was initiated. It was the first event for which twenty curators of museums in Shinshu selected and introduced twenty young artists, based in Shinshu, seeking to challenge themselves in new ways of artistic expression. The exhibition gave chances for viewers to expose themselves to the artists’ messages and appreciate their works. In this second exhibition, a variety of expressions by these twenty new and versatile artists are introduced as well.
The artists – some of which were born and raised in Shinshu, and others that relocated from other places – develop their diverse expressions based on motives such as their encounters and memories of nature in their works. GENMA Naho conjures in her paintings, images of the “air” in the innate nature surrounding her. SUENAGA Eri embodies her sensibility and thought, absorbed from her mountain climbing experiences, in dot-filled works. HASHIGUCHI Yuu creates pieces based on her reminiscence of the hill behind her house where she played as a child. KOSHI Chihiro depicts original landscapes of her birth place, utilizing various feast-like colors. NAKAMURA Mamiko reflects, in her dry-point printworks, her sensibility sharpened through life in the northern part of Shinshu which is laden with snow. ITO Misono represents flowers and insects that surround us in her paper cutting works. Yoshimi HAYASHI tells us that only those who are in their natural conditions can attain the freedom of independent expression.
The photographer, YAMAUCHI Yu shot the clouds spreading under the magnificent cosmic space above us and captured the light filtering in through them during his long stay in a hut on Mt. Fuji.
Then, there is ITO Sumiyo, who exhibits the endless cycle of life and death using materials such as the faces and bodies of dozens of dress-up dolls. YAMAKAMI Akiha, in her three-dimensional works made of soft materials representing living organisms, also incorporates a thought of time existing beyond life and death as well.
Being motivated by tradition, folklore and geographic features indigenous to this area, OZ-YAMAGUCHI Keisuke evolves his representations widely, HIRABAYASHI Takahiro, depicting girls sitting or lying on large flowers, embodies the border between the spiritual world and the extant.
YAMAKAMI Wataru visualizes things in our society which are seldom sensed and questions our egoistical lives. NISHIZAWA Chiharu, in depicting people and families working in the cities, views contemporary urban life critically from a bird’s-eye point of view. The resin bottles by UEDA Kenji, who spent his childhood in Nagasaki, symbolize bottles containing messages floating on the ocean with a slight hope that they would surely be found by someone.
Now, I would like to introduce two artists working with lacquer and ceramics, both of which seemingly exceed the aporia of craft and contemporary art. The startling human bodies and skeletons by HASHIMOTO Haruka, who was fascinated by the possibilities of Japanese lacquer, present a new way of expression coupled with his message. The realistic ceramic works by FUJINO Takanori, portraying screws and PET bottles seem to symbolize us as helplessly adrift in contemporary society.
SAITO Haruka, from the cosmos consisting of gravity and light years, views her stand point of creation objectively, connecting the reminiscence of days of old, with the future of humanity to her daily life inseparable in-between them. Nowadays, while the terminals of our cellphones are overloaded everywhere, driving us into a digital existence, TAKAGI Cozue tries to revitalize handiwork from her digitalized photos in her printing technique.
Lastly, KAMIJO Mika, despite all her physical handicaps, says, “to draw is a delight” and creates her works utilizing various materials around her. The desire to “draw” and to “create” might motivate her to live and express herself in art.
This representation by Shinshu-based explorers and self-challengers is not always meant for the comfort of viewers. However, I would like the viewers to unshield themselves to new ways of interpretation and depiction in contemporary art and the human condition.
Please note, of course, that “Shinbism” does not attempt to compile the Shinshu version of contemporary art history.

Akahane, Yoshihiro (Tatsuno Museum of Art)