press release

In the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games, we have seen a lot of discussion regarding the cultural city, Tokyo. Externally its digitalized, commercialized, intelligent culture resembles a flat, elusive wasteland that could even be described as a refined yet cold glacier. During the 1980s, Tokyo attracted worldwide attention as a flamboyant, cultural city. Artistic contexts intersected and were remixed within its rich sub- and pop-cultures, the city's creativity blossoming for a time to give birth to a new culture.

Today, a quarter of a century later, what kind of image does Tokyo present to the world as a cultural city? How does it appear to those of us who live here? The great earthquake taught us that "eternal normality" does not continue indefinitely, but while sharing various crises—aging society and falling birth rates, energy, immigration, etc.—with the rest of the world, we have been searching for a new platform.

The "TOKYO": Sensing the Cultural Magma of the Metropolis exhibition will comprise of two elements designed to highlight "Tokyo." One will consist of exhibits curated by creators, based in Tokyo and active in various fields, photographers, a playwright, artists, musicians and film director, in which they look at "Tokyo" from their own personal viewpoints. The other will feature new works by artists from both Japan and abroad on the theme of "Tokyo." It is no longer possible to present (curate) Tokyo as a single concept; it has become necessary to utilize multiple viewpoints in order to bring the city into relief.

The techno-pop founded by Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO) swept the world in 1978. They featured a unique relationship between technology and humanity, working with mysterious and cute modes succeeded today by Vocaloid's booming sounds and post-human images. Neo-Pop Art presented the neotenous characteristics of the strange coexistence of mature and infantile and the aesthetics of excessive self-expression, nurtured on a stage where anybody can become famous, as grasped through the context of "Pop." The tendency to attempt to overcome the instability and unpredictability of our social situation through the demonstration of a powerful, individual lifestyle or strong networking has expanded to produce diversified forms of expression.

At the same time, we have seen the birth of a new sense of the materiality of images that has been developed by the post-Internet generation and the inspiration of the younger generation to reconstruct the urban landscape, where the old and the new coexist on a daily basis to produce parallel worlds.

We believe that these veins of inspiration and expression can actually be traced back to Tokyo's creativity of the 1980s, which has been passed down and developed.

In this way, we utilize varied viewpoints of artists, active both here and abroad, to take a multilateral view of the potential of contemporary Tokyo's creativity, which has inherited the culture of the 1980s that continues to flourish beneath the ice, like hot magma, waiting to burst through the glacier.

Curation YMO + Akio Miyazawa, Mika Ninagawa, Takashi Homma (showing: Kineo Kuwabara, Takuma Nakahira, Thomas Demand, Genpei Akasegawa, Maki Onishi and Yuki Hyakuda, Maiko Kurogouchi/mame, Kosuke Tsumura/FINAL HOME, Chim and Pom, Kenzo Tange, and Mieko Kawakami), Toshiki Okada (showing: Takehito Koganezawa), EBM(T) (showing: Tabor Robak, Jeremy Shaw, TCF, James Ferraro, and Jenna Sutela), and Tetsuaki Matsue

New Production SUPERFLEX, Saâdane Afif, Lin Ke, [Mé]

From MOT Collection Painting Survey, 1970–2015 Paintings of some 40 artists selected mainly from MOT collection

Chief Curator: Yuko Hasegawa (Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo) Co-Curator: Sachiko Namba

Organized by: Tokyo Metropolitan Government; the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo; Arts Council Tokyo (Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture); and Sankei Shimbun Co., Ltd.

With the special cooperation of: Faculty of Fine Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts

Supported by: the Danish Agency for Culture, the Embassy of France/Institut français du Japon, and the Danish Arts Foundation

Sponsored by: Shiseido

In cooperation with: ALFA MUSIC, INC.; Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc.; Sony Music Direct (Japan) Inc.; MEDICOM TOY CORPORATION; Toshiba Lifestyle Products & Services Corporation; TOKYO Lithmatic Corporaton; and Fukagawa shiryokan Avenue Shopping Street Cooperative Society