23rd Art Division Critiques

Shift from Diverse Expressionist Art to Media Art

Last year three of the jury members in the Art Divi- sion were new, which changed the direction of the Art Division within media arts. Previously, we evaluated a diverse field of expression including kinetic art, film, animation and contemporary art--in a wide range of different fields all grouped together, while consider- ing each genre-specific feature. However, this year we shifted direction to clarify our policy of judging informa- tion design and media art as the core of the Art Division. This can be seen as a shift from diversity in a catch-all group to identifying diversity with a narrow focus on media art.Japanese artists won the Grand Prize and the Excel- lent Awards, and the themes presented encompassed extremely contemporary scientific motifs such as AI, A- LIFE, bio art, robotics and multiple dimensions. These works were created with intricate systems, unique pro- cesses and concepts. In some respects these artists are already recognized, but their works far surpassed that of other candidates. This kind of meticulous art- istry is beginning to be seen as a particularly Japanese characteristic. This art also demonstrates that works steeped in subculture design are not Japan's only ex- ports. These artists do not just stand on their own, but represent a diverse pool of talented people who play important roles in group work in other productions and corporate projects. This combination of multifaceted professionalism among mid-career artists has aug- mented the substance of their work.Andrey CHUGUNOV's Total Tolstoy, which won the New Face Award, took apart Tolstoy's text as the most apt sample of an outdated humanistic topic in the contemporary smartphone culture, and created an audiovisual representation of it with an information sci- ence approach. This was an intriguing example of how this kind of social criticism approach can be effective as the main strategy in media art.

ABE Kazunao
Curator, Art Producer and Professor, Tokyo Polytechnic University
Born in 1950 in Aichi Prefecture, FUJI- MOTO graduated from the Department of Musicology of Osaka University of Arts. Among his major solo exhibi- tions are Audio Picnic at the Museum, held one day each year from 1997 to 2006 (Otani Memorial Art Museum, Nishinomiya City), Reading to Another Dimension(Center for Contemporary Graphic Art and Tyler Graphic Ar- chive Collection [CCGA], 2001), Here and There (Nagoya City Art Museum, 2006), ÉCHO--Son Virtuel (Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, 2007), Philosophical Toys (Otani Me- morial Art Museum, 2007), +/- (The National Museum of Art, Osaka, 2007), and Relations (Museum of Modern Art, Wakayama, 2007). His major group exhibitions include the 49th Venice Biennale in 2001 and the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007. Since the mid-1980s, he has been creating devices and sound objects that visualize "sound" in everyday life. Through installations, performances and workshops he has conducted activities to reveal a new form of perception through the experi- ence of "sound in space."