We have had a special interview with Mr. Takahiro Kaneshima, the executive director of Art Fair Tokyo!
─Art Fair Tokyo 2013 is held from March 22nd till 24th, which is a week earlier than last year.
MR: We were able to hold the fair at the same time with Roppongi Art Night and G-tokyo so that visitors can enjoy all those special events held in Tokyo. It would be great if it became easier for people abroad as well to visit.
─It’s getting more attention every year as you can see the increasing number of visitors: 43,000 for the year before last, and 53,000 for last year.
MR: Thank you very much. I am delighted to see it is growing thanks to all the galleries and sponsors.
─The number of exhibiting galleries declined this year from 164 to 142; did you change the criteria of application?
MR: That is because we had more galleries who applied for a bigger space. We also changed the layout and where to place copper wires so that you can see the work clearer with wider spaces.
─As we want to ask you the concrete plans of the fair, please tell us about Discover Asia.
MR: That is an area with Asian contemporary work from such as Taiwan, Korea, Japan and South East Asia. At one of the sections called Southeast Asian Flash, we present some artists from South East Asia such as Jompet Kuswidananto and Rodel Tapaya. We will present dynamic works that it is hard to display at a booth so that people can enjoy art from South East Asia, which is attracting people in Japan, too.
─Tokyo Limited is a section with various genres such as jewelries.
MR: Exactly. Visitors last year really liked the section called Contemporary Jewelry that we had experimentally. We tried to make it diverse to bring some other factors that have not been on a context of fine art such as Japanese crafts, fashion and photography. And ‘Limited’ is an antonym of Basel’s ‘Unlimited’, which means Tokyo is interesting as well even though it is “limited”. The theme is ‘Small but Mature’ because there is a sophisticated and mature sense of beauty in Japan. It would be great if this section will be the key to think about our own way of expression and market value. I always care how to lead to the feature of Art Fair Tokyo, which is the variety of art.
─It sounds like the exhibition “Shuffle II” by Mr. Yuji Yamashita, one of the Artistic Practice projects last year, was the basis of it.
MR: Yes, I want to make it a platform to present Japanese art from diverse points of view with a basis that there is an artistic experiment with any genre at any time. We invited Mr. Morihiro Hosokawa this year, a former Prime Minister who is now regarded as an artist. The theme is art in daily life. It would be good if it became a chance to think about art in our daily life and being surrounded by art. He will exhibit his ceramics, calligraphies and demonstration of a tearoom.
─We heard that the sales last year exceeded the year last.
MR: We surely marked the biggest sales last year. I hope more people abroad would visit this year due to all the other events too. Moreover, I think more Japanese people started to collect artworks than before. So it is good for those people to visit us first to communicate with galleries to actually go to particular galleries so that they get more familiar with art.
─What are your goals to achieve in future?
MR: As an art fair is one of the ways to develop art markets, there also could be a school to educate collectors or an organization to support gallery managements, which are not temporary events. There are things we cannot do at the fair for only 4 days. We want to make ecology that you can study some more by the next fair if you found it interesting at the fair.
We want to do something that Basel and Freaze cannot do. We are looking for another internationalism to show something no one can do. We would like to be proud of our own market and expressions anticipating there would be the time this special characteristic is rated highly some time.
─You curated a Chinese exhibition from last year as well.
MR: Yes, I curated a Japanese contemporary exhibition called “Parallel World in Far East” held at A4 Contemporary Art Center in Chengdu from last December 1st till March 24th. We had to postpone in October due to social problems between China and Japan; however, we finally realized it in December as the private enterprise of the venue that we were working with insisted that culture and art should not be influenced with social issues.
You have to book tickets for the exhibition in advance for your safety, but a lot of people have visited so far. I am delighted to hear that it is such a good exhibition to see current Japanese aspects. I hope that more people would visit the fair in Tokyo through the exhibition in Chengdu. I will just gradually do what I can do to stimulate the culture interchange more in various ways such as curating an exhibition and a fair.
The executive director of Art Fair Tokyo as well as the president of FEC. Works with an interexchange enterprise, a research project of contemporary art in South East Asia and supports with artists creating artwork. Born in Tokyo, 1977.
Date: 1100 to 2100 on March 22nd, 23rd, 1100 to 2000 on 23rd, and 1030 to 1700 on 24th
Place: Tokyo International Forum
Admission Fee: 1-Day Passport 2,000yen, 3-Day Passport 3,500yen (Advance Ticket Available by 1,500yen and 3,000yen for each)