As I proceeded with the screenings, I could gain a better understanding of the applicants’ intentions, and I believe that I was able to make a fair decision in the selection process.
What became obvious to me during the screening process was the limitation of making selections based on viewing only documents. That limitation remained even when a maquette was provided.
What made the screenings so limited was not being at all able to measure how much people would be moved by looking at the piece and the level of completion of the actual finished piece.
I believe that the process of trial and error between the idea in your head and the finished piece is the factor that most defines the work of art, and the secret to creating it.
However, it is unavoidable that we face limitations in the screening of proposals of ideas submitted to the competition. That being said, I believe there is yet room for further ingenuity and improvement to the screening method.
When I was a child, I was obsessed with the thought that the world we live in appears instant by instant. I wondered if the sky, mountains, rivers, Earth’s strata, fossils, complex society, human relations, even my own memories—everything— were the product of but a single instant without any sort of process…
Aside from these ideas, my imagination was stimulated by the adeptness of what seemed like condensing the vastness of time and space into one point all at once, and the number of proposals for pieces slicing through the Gordian knot to concisely convey their concepts at Art Award IN THE CUBE 2020.
Also, I sensed that there were many trying to record or recreate their memories through a number of processes. I found proposals by artists trying to spin together their own stories through their own hands while tying together language, movement, and scenery from different perspectives to be truly innovative. This may be a sort of resistance which tried to erase and rewrite memories, records, and history away from others’ eyes.
The essence of art lies in looking back on a piece with a sense of renewal. If you can do that, the focus becomes a joy you have never felt or seen before. However, the theme of this exhibition is “Kioku no Yukue”, meaning “Where Our Memories Go”, making it important to consider what sort of a past you look back on. Thus, the topic was what kind of past you reflected upon and how to do so in a new light.
The kinds of past being reflected on in each proposal were numerous; there was the past in terms of life, mystery, family, and self. However, the past which blends into everyday life can be the target of reflection as can those materials that are no longer used. Artwork from the past and traditional techniques are no different. How much the proposals could bring us joy we have never felt before or seen before became a criterion in my selection. I don’t know if it was a blessing or a curse to only be able to select 18 pieces, but from the over 700 pieces entered, I found it relatively easy to decide on my selections. I’m truly looking forward to seeing the final exhibition of those pieces.
At the scale of the human body—not too big and not too small—and in light of the cost to create the cube, I believe the calculation of a 3.6 m size regulation was appropriate. Artists with a wealth of experience were able to turn in proposals which were mindful of the size and which would make the most of the entire space. Installation ability was something required here, and many of the proposals chosen made great use of the entire space. However, what I struggled with the most during the screening was how to evaluate that skill. There were proposals with no need for physical space as well as ones unable to completely fit within the specified space. How could I evaluate those proposals when, already at this point, the “scale of the idea” didn’t jive with the prescribed “scale of the space”? Personally, I ended up choosing some pieces I imagined would go way outside of the cube and which I imagined would be nullified. I felt that the meaning of regulating the size became apparent right there.
A living creature as a physical thing hangs in a dangerous balance of being constantly and repeatedly deconstructed and reconstructed. In this balance, why do our memories stay preserved? It’s because our memories do not exist at a physical level, but at a relative level between matter or between cells. However, while maintaining that relationship and complementary tie, they are constantly renewed. To put it another way, the way a memory feels like it is being preserved is only an illusion, and is always, at every moment, being recreated. One could say that vivid memories are those which you bring back again and again—transformed into a narcissistic cycle that sculpts and strengthens them. The whereabouts of these transient memories flow, change, and sway to show a certain kind of geometric order, create dynamic rippling waves, and take form sometimes as illustrations of beauty. I hope I can encounter these types of pieces. I faced my work as a judge with that hope.
When I walk around town, I sometimes come across construction sites where holes are being dug in the road or things are being mounted onto the tops of utility poles, and I think to myself, “If this scene was labeled an installation in an art museum, I would definitely view it as a work of art.”
Even if it isn’t a construction scene or a moment of things being taken down in town, and if say something like some single, run-of-the-mill tree was cut down from a forest and put into a square box in a museum, I would totally view it as a surrealist piece.
I wanted to think of and evaluate each of the pieces as having potential as a superb work of art if it was in the cube, and wanted to hunker down and see with my eyes, as well as experience, a real, simple stone axe and conversely see and feel a real snail like there might be with that tree.
When evaluating three-dimensional pieces, I think it’s easy to understand with a maquette, but it may not be very practical.
I felt as if I may almost drown in the waves of others’ memories as I looked over more than 700 proposal applications. I became worn out countless times, feeling as if I could no longer see anything—as if I had sunk all the way to the bottom of the ocean. It’s almost as if I myself have now become a wanderer with no destination in mind. I strongly felt that all the proposals definitely left that sense ambiguous; memory is a living thing which, just as you think you’ve touched it,
escapes your reach and shrouds its path in uncertainty. As a result, our creative adventure continues as we somehow try to capture that moment of illusion. I also felt lucky to be able to encounter many more appealing two-dimensional proposals than I expected. I believe a picture is the ideal medium in regard to this, but that imagining the scene without actually seeing it is incredibly difficult. Both you and I may question what people can understand from the concepts and plans of each expression, but I truly look forward to what will actually appear in the cube with a spirit of trust, affection, and respect.