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Mito Arts Foundation 1-6-8 Goken-cho, Mito-shi, Ibaraki 310-0063 JAPAN
Tel. (+81)-(0)29-227-8111 / Fax. (+81)-(0)29-227-8110 /

SITE Santa Fe Seventh International Biennial
"Lucky Number Seven"

The Art Tower Mito (ATM) Contemporary Art Center has been invited by the Contemporary Art Center SITE Santa Fe in Santa Fe, New Mexico (USA) to be one of 18 institutions worldwide to participate in the SITE Santa Fe Seventh International Biennial.

SITE Santa Fe 7th International Biennial -- Lucky Number Seven
Venue: SITE Santa Fe and sites throughout the city of Santa Fe
Period: June 22 to Oct. 26, 2008
Main Sponsor: SITE Santa Fe
Planning: Lance Fung (Biennial Curator)
Institutional Curators: Tsukasa Mori (Senior Curator, ATM Contemporary Art Center), Yuu Takehisa (Assistant Curator, ATM Contemporary Art Center)

Feature #1: Coordination with contemporary art centers around the world

This year's 7th International Biennial at SITE Santa Fe, with Lance Fung as curator, follows a system of coordinating with contemporary art institutions around the world, the selection of which was based on the criteria of "being non-profit and strongly linked with the community, emphasizing educational programs, and planning high-quality contemporary art exhibitions involving both domestic and foreign artists." Art Tower Mito was one of 18 institutions worldwide that Fung chose to work with.

The coordination work began with the act of the artists' selection, the curation of the artworks to be exhibited, and the creation of a network to link the various selected institutions. Also, the system of involving other organizations' curators in the selection of the artists served to attenuate the overriding authority of the Biennial curator (i.e., Fung), while affording him the opportunity to newly discover highly-vaunted local artists that were previously unknown to him.

Feature #2: New perspectives of artist selection

(1) Collaboration
(2) Process
(3) Experimental

These concepts underlying these three key words underscored the selection process of the artists for this years Biennial, providing the basis upon which the curator at each collaborating institution recommended three to five artists deeply involved there. Fung, then, identified one person from among the several artists recommended by each organization, eventually choosing a total of 25 artists to participate from 16 different countries. Hiroshi Fuji is the artist selected from ATM in Japan.

By establishing the aforementioned criteria, Lance Fung attempted to focus on artistic activities overlooked by previous Biennials as well as by the market. He thus suggests a new approach or paradigm for art festivals, adopting a different tack from other Biennials worldwide, which always seem to feature the same old prominent artists who jet around the world.

Feature 3: Site-specific temporary works

The works exhibited at this year's Biennial are all "site-specific," with each especially being developed by the respective artists for the Santa Fe site while they actually spend some time there. Furthermore, once the Biennial ends in October, the idea is to have each work disassembled at the site. That will spur the creation of works that are, by nature, experimental and playful, without depending on the market for their existence. The act of taking apart the works created especially for the festival removes the need to pay heed to their monetary value, exploring the paths that art can take without being influenced by market pressures.

Hiroshi Fuji - Artist Representing Art Tower Mito

For Hiroshi Fuji, art is not the creation of beautiful images or works, but rather a system to bring about creative activity within a community, and to let it take root there. His hallmark "Kaekko" activity is a bazaar-like project that allows children to exchange their unwanted toys through "Kaeru points." Begun in 2000, the project has now expanded to more than 3,000 communities around Japan. It has been highly praised, leading to Fuji's receipt of the 2007 Minister of the Environment Award. The artist views art as a "technology that takes trivial items of awareness or existence, whose worth is socially unrecognized, and transforms their condition into a powerful one." In his collaboration with numerous communities both in Japan and abroad, Fuji first begins by thinking about their characteristics and issues, then confronts the various inherent customs and practices using the technologies and skills that the people living there have.

About Hiroshi Fuji's Exhibited Work "KAERU"

The "work" that Hiroshi Fuji will introduce at the SITE Santa Fe 7th International Festival is his "Kaeru" ("change") system, whereby he takes taking things thought to be socially worthless (household garbage in the case of this exhibition) and turns them into a "special something." He will do that through the following activities: - The "Kaekko" bazaar, allowing children to exchange their toys - The "Kaeru" workshop, for local people to create artworks with Fuji using old toys they no longer use, along with the old plastic wrappings from candy - The "Kaeru" installation, combining participants' works with Fuji's - Building a sculpture-like object out of countless used plastic bottles, along with local artists, to serve as outdoor lighting for the parking lot of the Santa Fe Opera House

Hiroshi Fuji thus presents local community members with various opportunities to experience and practice the act of breathing new value into things that have outlived their original uses.


Contemporary Art Center (CAC) Exhibitions

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Tel. 029-227-8111 / Fax. 029-227-8110 /
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