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Nakanojo Biennale started in 2007 and this art festival marks it’s 5th year.

5th Nakanojo Biennale

Empty Garden

September 12 – October 12, 2015

At Gunma Prefecture, Nakanojo town.
50 locations in 5 areas includes “Nakanojo/Isemachi” “Isama” “Shima” “Sawatari/Kuresaka” “Kuni”

Director: Tetsuo Yamashige
Curator: Tomasz Wendland

There is a real building called Hotel de Inmigrantes in the harbour of Buenos Aires. For more than 100 years it was a quarantine centre for the thousands of immigrants who came to Argentina, mostly from Europe but very often from Japan and China too. It was the inspiration to create an international project which reflects on the continuing migration of human beings all over the planet.

We started international artists events in 2012 in New York on the Scope Art Show, later we organised a project called “Cosmopolitan Stranger” in Hasselt, as a parallel project with Manifesta. In 2013 we did another one in Hannover and 2014 in Montevideo. This time we meet in Nakanojo and in November 2015 in Indonesia as a part of Jogja Biennale.

Today in the post-global world migration does not have to be a decision for the rest of our lives. The touristic movement is perhaps one of the biggest industries shipping millions of people everyday, for different reasons, between continents. Migration does not have to always happen physically, but can be virtual as well.

There appears a question of losing and gathering a new identity, self consciousness, or having more than one identity. There is a global tendency of migration to big metropolis’, like to Tokyo or Mexico city, therefore villages often become abandoned.

There is a specific situation in Japan, the average age of Japanese society is 45 year old in a village it can be even 63. The Empty Garden project in Nakanojo in a poetic way relates to that. Beautiful Japanese nature is a paradise, but with less and less people. Nakanojo as a part of Gunma prefecture tries successfully to activate the region with the Nakanojo Biennale as a chance to bring back people in the form of tourism. There were around 350,000 visitors coming during the last edition of the biennale in 2013.

We as strangers, international artists, as temporary immigrants – “gaijin” – intend to bring a new energy to the small town of Nakanojo and the countryside. We want to be curious strangers, who will bring a new energy, in the form of not only an exhibition, but as well collaborative activities and workshops with the local people. We want them to participate in our exhibition, share with us their wisdom, skills and tradition. We hope that the Garden will be again full of joy.

Curator – Tomasz Wendland

Participating Artists:

  • Eddi Prabandono – Indonesia
  • Daniel Landau – Israel
  • Corinna Krebber – Germany
  • Li Xiaofei + Lise Yuen – China
  • Juan Ford – Australia
  • Noam Braslavsky – Israel/Berlin
  • Marc Schmitz – Germany
  • Harro Schmidt – Germany
  • Jacek Staniszewski – Poland
  • Tomasz Wendland – Poland
  • Anna Tyczyńska – Poland
  • Jacek Jagielski – Poland
  • Sławomir Sobczak – Poland
  • Anita Osuch – Poland
  • Hanna Olejnik – Poland
  • Risa Takita – Japan
  • Kenichi Shimojo – Japan
  • Akihiro Hirano – Japan
  • Kouji Ohno – Japan

Image: Takashi Kato. Courtesy Nakanojo Biennale.