This Japanese Art Festival Has All the Modern Artists You Need to Know
by Delilah Romasanta
A quick visit to any of Japan’s awe-inspiring temples and you’ll see that the country is rich in traditional craft pieces. But what about modern art? Recently, Japan’s contemporary art is drawing international attention. You may have heard of famous artists like Yayoi Kusama and Tadao Ando, but there are so many other great talents in Japan. If you visit Japan this fall, you’re in luck, as the Nakanojo Biennale, which only happens every two years, is presenting a selection of the best contemporary artists that you need to know.
Contemporary Art in Gunma Prefecture
The Nakanojo Biennale is a contemporary art festival that takes place in various galleries and spaces across Nakanojo Town in Gunma prefecture. Artists from all over Japan and the world exhibit their works over the course of a month from September 9, although some works may stay up longer. While you’re enjoying the art installations, sculptures, crafts, and much more, you’ll also have the opportunity to participate in hands-on workshops and thought-provoking guest lectures. This event has been held since 2007 and will be hosting its sixth celebration this fall. Over 130 artists are slated to exhibit at the 2017 festival!
A Japanese Festival of Sculpture
With so many artists, you will certainly find something that sparks your interest. If you like sculpture, check out Nobuya Yamaguchi’s work. The Tokyo-native works with wood and metal and has exhibited his undulating structures around the world.
On the other hand, if crafts are your thing, take a look at Luna Clip’s playful cardboard creations. And if it’s large scale art that fires your imagination, explore the worlds of installation artist Kaoru Murakami and fiber artist Ayumi Mitsunushi.
Can't get enough of Japanese modern artists? Check out 10 most iconic Japanese modern works of art:
Unique Events and Hands-On Experiences
Plenty of workshops and demonstrations are going on now until the end of the festival. On the opening night of Saturday, September 9, enjoy the free event “Unsatisfied Desire”. The show will feature several performances by local dancers on the theme of the true voice of a mother. It’s a story of love, life, loss, and companionship. You’re guaranteed to be captivated by the emotional production.
Tokyo's Roppongi district has world-class museums featuring some of the best Japanese artists and exhibitions. Definitely check out our art guide for everything you need to know:
How to Get to the Nakanojo Biennale Festival
The Nakanojo Biennale is a one of the most comprehensive contemporary art festivals in japan. Located in Gunma, the festival is a perfect idea for a weekend getaway from Tokyo! To get to Nakanojo by train, take a high-speed Shinkansen from Tokyo to Takasaki, then a local train to Nakanojo; the whole journey will take just a couple of hours. The drive from Tokyo is also just over two hours, with the added bonus that you travel around to the town itself more easily visiting the various art projects. Tickets to the festival cost ¥1000, or ¥800 yen if bought in advance. Children get in free. Find out more on the event website.
Intrigued? Delighted? Questions? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!