Massimiliano Gioni, a native of Italy, served as the general director of the 55th Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition (2013). Gioni drew much attention for being the youngest curator to be selected for the biennale, as well as for his decision to present outsider art. While based in New York in the United States, Gioni also curates large international exhibitions held in Asia and the Middle East. What does he think about when planning exhibitions in cultural spheres that differ from his homeland and how does he go about it? We interviewed Gioni in New York about his encounters with Japan, what he expects of exhibition visitors, and the future of international exhibitions.
On July 27, 2016, a briefing session was held at the Japan Foundation Hall "Sakura" to present the exhibition at the Japan Pavilion conducted as part of the 15th International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia. The exhibition at the Japan Pavilion titled en: art of nexus was curated by Professor Yoshiyuki Yamana of the Department of Architecture and Building Engineering, Faculty of Science and Technology at the Tokyo University of Science and produced by filmmaker Seiichi Hishikawa, editor Masaki Uchino, and urban space theory researcher Masatake Shinohara. It showcased works of 12 groups of architects with experience in designing shared houses and community spaces. The venue design was created by teco. The main staff alone exceeded 30 people who worked relentlessly to create this exhibition at the Japan Pavilion with en (which has several meanings in Japanese: connections, relation, ties, chance, edge, fringe, and rim) as the theme. The exhibitors examined the social conditions in Japan since the beginning of the 21st century and especially in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the need for connections and sharing experienced by many Japanese people in the context of three themes--"The en of People," "The en of Things," and "The en of Locality"--and presented works built over the past few years that are actually being used.
Bonsai is the art of replicating the aesthetic beauty of trees in their natural form in a pot. As part of Japan's traditional cultural heritage, bonsai has transcended national borders and is loved and appreciated around the globe, as attested by the large number of bonsai enthusiasts from various countries who gather at the World Bonsai Convention held once every four years. The art of bonsai has captured the imagination of people from all over the world, but what is the secret of its appeal? In this series of essays, Takahiro Mori, a bonsai master who is working to promote this ancient art not only in Japan, but in America and Europe as well, will share various ways to appreciate and enjoy bonsai.
The Japan Foundation organizes the Japanese Studies Fellowships Program and gives preeminent foreign scholars in Japanese studies an opportunity to conduct research in Japan. One of the 2015 fellows, Mr. Andrew Campana, who has carried out his research "Poetry Across Media in 20th Century Japan" at Keio University has contributed an essay titled "Poetry? In Postwar Japan: Literary Experiments Beyond the Page."