press release

1. INTRODUCTION Kanazawa is a middle-sized city located along the Japan Sea, with plenty of cultural assets. It attracts many visitors from Japan and abroad, with its beautiful historical districts spared from damage in World War II, and its highly developed arts and craft culture. The new museum is located in the center of Kanazawa, next to the Kenroku-Garden. It is just a few minutes on foot from the downtown area.

Now, at the beginning of the 21st century, we are experiencing a tremendous efflorescence of new artistic viewpoints, particularly in relation to the formerly dominant classic modernism of the West. Japan and Asia, as well as South America, Africa, and other formerly peripheral regions, have developed a significant and original synthesis which combines Western modernism with local cultural trends and traditions. Furthermore, partly through energetic creative activities which crosses genre-related boundaries, such as architecture, design, and film, the possibility for deeper connections between art, society, and daily life have been demonstrated.

The museum has chosen as its mission the introduction and investigation of recent creative developments from Japan and abroad which it considers indicative of the evolution of artistic thought worldwide since 1980.

2. MUSEUM CONCEPT The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa presents a model for a 21st century art museum with a focus on two aspects. The first is the integration of the design of the museum space with the program. The result of the 4-year collaboration between museum staff and architect SANAA is a "device" that transcends its function as a museum space to provide information and programs offering a range of experiences to visitors, engineering their awareness.

The variously proportioned rooms scattered throughout the circle - the model based on the concept of a chain of islands or an urban space - signify the centers that generate values originating in the maldistribution of decentrism and polycentrism, and in remote regions. The transparent corridors that offer a clear view of the entire museum space encourage "coexistence" in which individuals remain autonomous while sharing personal space with others. The design that allows the visitor to decide on the route that he/she is going to take through the museum, combined with the flexible gallery rooms that can adapt to every type of media, guarantees the transborder diversity of the programs that will be held in this space. The intention behind all of these elements is to stimulate the visitor's emerging awareness. 20th century Modernism was driven by the three M's of "Man," "Money" and Materialism". With the replacement of these three M's with the three C's of "Consciousness," "Collective Intelligence" and "Co-existence", new forms of expression are now beginning to make their appearance. The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa is an enormous catalytic "device", the purpose of which is to convey the "psychological products" of these three C's to visitors, to ensure their effect and to revitalize everyone that comes into contact with the museum.

The second aspect is "the initiator" as transitional and coexistent. In the past, the curator as art specialist was the "initiator" in an art museum who determined the value of art and had the final decision on what to collect and was responsible for any other activities. Programs to encourage visitors to become initiators, and deconstructionist programs or programs focusing on destroying the perception of "self", have been incorporated into 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa's range of activities. If, as Beuys, said, "Everyone is an artist", this museum dreams of a time when anyone can decide on what is of value and show works based on their own criteria, a time when anyone can become a curator. The resources of the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa to become a "device" that can transcend a non-Western perspective focusing on values that are different from Western modernism, instead committing to a deep and strong involvement with society and the world at large while continuing to generate different values are about to be verified.


Yutaka MINO, Director Born in Kanazawa, Japan, in 1941, Yutaka Mino has received his Ph. D. in Art History at Harvard University in 1977. He was appointed the Associate Curator in charge of the Asiatic Department at Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 1976, Curator of the Oriental Art Department at The Indianapolis Museum of Art in 1977, and Curator of the Asian Department, at The Art Institute of Chicago in 1985. After returning to Japan, he was appointed Director of Osaka Municipal Museum of Art in 1996. Yutaka Mino has curated many exhibitions such as The Public and the Private in the Age of Vermeer in 2000. He has also published individual books and catalogs such as Hakuji (White Wares): vol.5 in the Chugoku Toji (Chinese Ceramics) series in 1998 and The Radiance of Jade and Crystal Clarity of Water: Korean Ceramics From the Ataka Collections, 1991.

Yuko HASEGAWA, Chief Curator While curator at the Contemporary Art Gallery, Mito Arts Foundation, she received a grant from the Asian Cultural Council for a visiting curatorship at the Whitney Museum of American Art. She also had served as Curator at the Setagaya Art Museum in Tokyo. Yuko Hasegawa is a board member of the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art (CIMAM). She was a member of the international jury at the Venice Biennale, in 1999, Artistic Director of the 7th International Istanbul Biennale in 2001, one of the jurors of the Hugo Boss Prize, Co-Curator of the 4th Shanghai Biennale in 2002 and the commissioner of the Japanese Pavilion of the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003. Recent exhibitions curated by Yuko Hasegawa include De-Genderism (Tokyo/1999), Fancy Dance -13 Contemporary Japanese Artists after 90s (Seoul/1999), and Shirin Neshat (Kanazawa 2001).

Yasuyo KONDO, Chief Program Coordinator Her Past achievements include: production co-operation in the festivals, such as Interlink – New American Music Festival hosted by U.S. Embassy, Japan (91-‘96), planning of concerts featuring collaborative efforts between Eastern tradition and Western early music, overseas marketing of concert tours by local experimental music artists, co-ordination of the Japanese production of the Broadway musical

“Cabaret”, and direction/planning of opening events for art exhibition held at various museums. During her time as a music producer at The Kanagawa Arts Foundation (‘96-’00), she has produced premiered opera “DUST” commissioned to American composer Robert Ashley and Japanese visual artist Yukihiro Yoshihara, a collaborative work in various tunings, directed the artist in residency ‘Torio du Monde’ with new instrumentation of Koto, keyboard, and violin. Kondo graduated form University of California, San Diego in Communications.

International Advisory Board Members: Niel Benezra [Director, San Francisco MOMA] Lars Nittve [Director, Moderna Museet, Sweden] Alfred Pacquement [Director, Musee National d'Art Moderne - Centre Georges Pompidou]

4. ARCHITECTURAL CONCEPT & DESIGN INFORMATION The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa stands in the center of Kanazawa, on a site linking together diverse but equally important city functions. Circular in form, with a diameter of 112.5 meters, the building has no front or back, leaving it free to be explored from all directions. While being a reaction to the accessibility of the site from multiple points of entry, as well as to its breadth, the circularity of the plan also works in concert with keeping the overall building volume low, to effectively mitigate the scale of the project and an overly grand presence common to large institutions. In order to further encourage the multiplicity of approaches, the architects have intentionally resisted establishing a primary façade or entrance.

Programmatically, the project includes community gathering spaces, such as a library, lecture hall, and children’s workshop, as well as museum spaces. The public and museum zones are organized to provoke interrelation, with the public spaces encircling the museum. The exhibition area is fragmented into numerous galleries that are all embedded in circulation space. This approach offers specificity to the gallery spaces yet flexibility for the museum routing, with multiple options for division into smaller exhibitions, expansion, or concentration of the ticketed area. The scattered bulk of the galleries, as opposed to a conventional solution with one or a few great exhibition spaces, provide transparency, with views from the periphery into the center and vistas through the entire depth of the building. This transparency further manifests the wish to avoid the museum being perceived as a large, introverted mass.

Specificity to each gallery space is a benefit of the building concept and has been fully explored. Galleries are of various proportions and light conditions – from bright daylight through glass ceilings to spaces with no natural light source, their height ranging from 4 meters to 12 meters. Circulation spaces are designed in a way making them useable as additional exhibition areas. Four fully glazed internal courtyards, each unique in character, provide ample daylight to the center and a fluent border between public zone and museum zone.

While it is a very large building, the feeling is bright, open, and free. It provides an unforgettable aesthetic world, one which will point the direction towards the possibilities of continued creativity in the future.

5. THE ARCHITECT SANAA, the collaborate office of Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, is an architectural practice established in 1995. Based in Tokyo, Japan, SANAA is a multidisciplinary firm in architecture and planning, landscape, interior, exhibition, as well as furniture and product design.

In Japan, the firm has completed numerous critically acclaimed commercial and institutional buildings, community centers, homes and museums. Among these are the O-Museum in Nagano (1999), the N-Museum in Wakayama (1997), and the recently opened flagship store for Christian Dior in Tokyo (2003). Several projects around the world are currently in progress; the Glass Pavilion at the Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio, USA is under construction (completion 2005), Kunstlinie theater and cultural center in Almere, Netherlands, is under construction (completion 2006), and the extension of the Institut Valencia d’Art Modern (IVAM) in Valencia, Spain, Zollverein School, Essen, Germany, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, NY, USA, an office building on the Novartis Campus, Basel, Switzerland, as well as an artist-in-residence in Nanjing, China, are all in design stages.

Sejima studied architecture at the Japan Women's University. She launched her own practice in 1987. In 1995 she started SANAA together with Ryue Nishizawa. Currently Sejima is a professor a Keio University.

Nishizawa studied architecture at Yokohama National University. In 1995 he started SANAA together with Kazuyo Sejima. In 1997 he launched his own practice. Currently Nishizawa is an associate professor at Yokohama National University.

SANAA has received several awards for their work; amongst these: 1997 The Prize of Architectural Institute of Japan 2000 Erich Shelling Architekturpreis, Karlsruhe, Germany 2002 Arnold W Brunner Memorial Prize in Architecture, American Academy of Arts & Letters, N.Y., USA 2002 Architecure Award of Salzburg Vincenzo Scamozzi, Salzburg, Austria 2004 The Golden Lion for the most remarkable work in the exhibition Metamorph, for the projects ‘21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa’ and ‘Extension of the Institut Valencia d’Art Modern, Valencia, Spain’, in the 9th International Architecture Exhibition, la Biennale di Venezia.

6. COLLECTION Collection is considered a major responsibility of the Museum, and present includes visual arts, design, craft, fashion, architecture, and film, and an open minded and flexible attitude will be maintained towards recognizing and supporting previously under-recognized genres as well as significant future developments. Approximately 200 works have been collected according to the museum collection policies.

Collection Policies

Peripheral Modernism Japan, like other Asian nations, as well as those of South America, Africa, and more peripheral regions, has developed a significant and original synthesis which combines Western modernism with local cultural trends and traditions. Works which had become quite renowned in past 15 years, with concentration in Japanese artists, born after 1965.

Artists: Lee BUL, Suh DO-HO, Jun NGUEN-HATSUSHIBA, Shirin NESHAT, Luna ISLAM, Mona HATUUM, Gabriel OROZCO, Beatriz MILHAZES, Takashi MURAKAMI, Yutaka SONE, Motohiko ODANI, Atsuko TANAKA

Cross Genre Partly through energetic creative activity which crosses genre-related boundaries, such as architecture, design, and film, the possibility for deeper connections between art, society, and daily life has been demonstrated. Artists: Pipilotti RIST, Doug AITKEN, Carsten NICOLAI, Olafur ELIASSON, Philippe PARRENO

Communication The work that center their themes on issues of communication --language, technology, the nature of content-- now forms a major subset of current art practice. Also, the works that would encourage the audience to participate. Artists: Kenji YANOBE, Lygia CLARK

Reconsideration of Tradition The museum will collect contemporary works which emerge from, or present new perspectives of, traditional craft practices rooted in the local region. Artists: Grayson PERRY, Yasokichi TOKUDA III

7. COMMISSIONED WORKS The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa is collaborating with artists to create new works. Eight works to be incorporated into the building itself will be created to coincide with the opening of the Museum - these will be permanent works. Visitors will be able to experience different time-spans - works permanently on exhibit, short-term exhibitions and long-term but temporary installations on exhibit for around one year.

James Turrell, Blue Planet Sky This work features a square opening in the ceiling so that the sky becomes part of the work. Turrell has skillfully created an opening with an extremely sharp edge. This creates an illusion of the color of the sky being part of the same surface as that of the surrounding frame. An endless drama of light unfolds as a result of the relationship between the lighting hidden behind the benches in the gallery space and the changing colors of the sky.

Anish Kapoor, Untitled Kapoor has made an enormous elliptical hole in the slanting wall to create a black hole that does not reflect any light, so that the result is "nothingness" in which depth cannot be perceived. This is the largest in the series of similar works by Kapoor.

Leandro Erlich, Swimming Pool A mock pool is installed in the light court just inside the entrance. The layer of water covers a sheet of glass, while the pool below the glass is empty. The visitor can see what lies below the surface by walking down the stairs located in another section of the gallery. In this work, those standing below the pool and those looking down at the pool encounter each other through the surface of the water.

Mathieu Briand, SYS017 Briand has produced a futuristic work featuring visual communication. Visitors wear headsets of the sort seen in animation, and experience each other's perceptions by manually plugging and unplugging jacks.

Patrick Blanc, Vegetal Walls A work in which the 13 meter long, 5 meter high wall in the light court is covered with 3000 plants of 100 varieties - personally collected by Blanc, a botanist - from regions throughout the world including Kanazawa. Visitors maneuver themselves through the green wall by walking along the glass pathway.

Florian Clarr, Klangenfeld This work designed as "play equipment" and installed outside the Museum building features trumpet shapes. The trumpets are connected with underground pipes allowing people to carry out a long-distance conversation. Participants can only find out how the combination of trumpets works by actually trying out this "toy".

Fernando Romero Multiple protrusions lift up a mesh cover to almost break through the fabric to create this organically shaped "play equipment" designed for children. Constructed of curved pipes, the protrusion-filled space can be entered from any of three entrances.

Jorge Pardo A temporary tent that can be used for events has been set up by Pardo in the public space surrounding the art museum. The combination of plywood that has been bent by the artist and the colorful fabric of the tent is reminiscent of Californian midcentury design. The work is not altogether pleasant, however, and conveys a strange malignance.


Encounters in the 21st Century : Polyphony - Emerging Resonances. Dates: October 8, 2004 to March 21, 2005.

During the 20th Century, modernism based on Western individualism, rationalism, and capitalism have resulted in “great developments” and at the same time left many issues to be resolved. We have now reached a point where we can learn from our experience in the 20th Century to live the new century in an enhanced way. We have thus started to uncover a new richness that we had not previously noticed in this materialistic world. This shift of awareness is also reflected in the arts, which is undergoing a similar transformation. This new direction lies in a creativity that transcends various fields such as art, design, architecture, and science which have contributed in the creation of a so-called "open art" that seeks for a co-creative relation in which viewers participate not only in the creative process but also in the production of meaning. As a result of globalization accelerated through developments in communication technologies and means of transportation, there are now greater opportunities for encounters with different cultures and thus to acknowledge differences among diverse cultural zones. A dialogue and an exchange resulting from this transcendence of psychological and spatial boundaries along with a search for a co-existence based on the awareness of difference opens up possibilities for new channels of expression.

Rather than collectively applying a dominant philosophy or meaning to diversify forms of expression, the "Polyphony" exhibition attempts to convey a “resonance” that is enhanced through a new form of sensory organ, or rather, a "meaningsensibility" by simply allowing the works to coexist. "Polyphony" offers a new perspective for an exhibition.

The museum designed by SANAA, consists of a circular glass structure that encompasses various exhibition spaces that are randomly placed like a chain of islands. Within this museum space artists unfold their own stories and present the results of their creativity while visitors become a contemporary version of "flaneur" who would move about the museum space freely as though they were island-hopping or taking a stroll through a city as they glanced at different buildings. The visitors not only encounter the art objects but also various dimensions of time and perhaps even a new sensorium.

This exhibition, which will mark the opening of the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, encompasses 40 artists from 17 countries, and includes 80 works from the Museum's collection. 20 of the 40 artists represented will be creating new works specifically designed for the Museum space. For example, in Chris Burden's new work "Metropolis", a profusion of mini cars race along a labyrinthine monorail-like structure that resembles Medusa's head. Within this work, speed is manifested to convey the naked essence of the city. Sarah Sze has created a galaxy that hangs like a pendulum from a 11 meter-high vaulted ceiling. Matthew Ritchie’s flowing lenticular panels and murals convey an intense energy and speed suggestive of the Big Bang. Ernesto Neto envelopes the observer with soft sculptures, while a robotic movement of an orchid in Fujihata Masaki's "Orchisoid" conveys the plant’s consciousness. This exhibition represents works that are fragile and delicate, and also, those that are open and resonant with the world while emanating their very own "sound."

The works spill out from one exhibition space to another and scatter, expanding out into the encompassing circular space; a current reminiscent of a neural network. Within this circuit, the spatial orientation such as front and back, above and below, and linear progression of time, and even, gravity are all lost. Instead, an unknown sensibility will be extracted. The design of this museum itself reprograms individual experiences into something unique.

At the end, every visitor would utter a different story, a different experience. Out of this new realignment, these diverse utterances would then blend to create a resonance, which in turn composes multiple melodies. The result would be a neverending polyphony.

Through these new channels of expressions in the 21st Century the "Polyphony_ Emerging Resonances" exhibition will provide opportunities for every visitor to encounter his or her "unknown self."??And now, a new sensibility is being created as a result of the encounter with this Museum.

Paticipating Artists (alphabetical order)

Asia A-POC - MIYAKE ISSEY + FUJIWARA DAI- (Japan) / Yayoi Deki (Japan) / Hiroshi Fuji (Japan) / Masaki Fujihata??Yuji Dogane (Japan) / Makoto Ishiwata (Japan) / Kazuo Kawasaki (Japan) / Michael Lin (Taiwan) / Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba (Vietnam) / Sound Bum Project (Japan) / Yoshihiro Suda (Japan) / Rirkrit Tiravanija (Thailand)/ Yang Fudong (China) / Kenji Yanobe (Japan) / Motoi Yamamoto (Japan) / Kow Yokoyama (Japan)

Europe John Bock (Germany) / Hussein Chalayan (Cyprus) / Sara Ciracì (Italy) / Olafur Eliasson (Denmark) / Mona Hatoum (Lebanon) / Carsten Höller (Germany) / Ocean North (Finland) / R&Sie...Architects (France) / Gerhard Richter (Germany) / Pipilotti Rist (Switzerland) / Anri Sala (Albania) / Gerda Steiner & Jörg Lenzlinger (Switzerland) / Wolfgang Tillmans (Germany) / Patrick Tuttofuoco (Italy)

North America, Central and South America Matthew Barney (U.S.A.) / Chris Burden (U.S.A.) / Beatriz Milhazes (Brazil) / Ernesto Neto (Brazil) / Gabriel Orozco (Mexico) / Matthew Ritchie (U.S.A.) / Sarah Sze (U.S.A.) / Ana Maria Tavares (Brazil)

only in german

Encounters in the 21st Century
Polyphony - Emerging Resonances.
Chefkuratorin: Yuko Hasegawa

mit A-POC  (Miyake Issey & Fujiwara Dai), Yayoi Deki, Hiroshi Fuji, Masaki Fujihata, Yuji Dogane, Makoto Ishiwata, Kazuo Kawasaki, Michael Lin, Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba, Sound Bum Project , Yoshihiro Suda, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Yang Fudong, Kenji Yanobe, Motoi Yamamoto, Kow Yokoyama, John Bock, Hussein Chalayan, Sara Ciraci, Olafur Eliasson, Mona Hatoum, Carsten Höller, Ocean North , R&Sie(n) , Gerhard Richter, Pipilotti Rist, Anri Sala, Gerda Steiner & Jörg Lenzlinger, Wolfgang Tillmans, Patrick Tuttofuoco, Matthew Barney, Chris Burden, Beatriz Milhazes, Ernesto Neto, Gabriel Orozco, Matthew Ritchie, Sarah Sze, Ana Maria Tavares