nca | nichido contemporary art is pleased to present the group show “Identity XIII- curated by Daisuke Miyatsu -”.

Since the fourth edition of this annual exhibition, we started to invite curators and investigate the theme of “identity” embracing their perspective. The exhibition welcomes for its 13th edition Daisuke Miyatsu, art collector and professor at the Yokohama College of Art and Design as guest curator. Well known in Japan as “salary man collector”, his story has widely spread abroad, too. This is the first exhibition he organizes since he joined the academic field, leaving his job after 30 years in March 2017.

In recent years, the word “curation” has become easily overused and emptied of its meaning. For those who deeply love contemporary art, such a tendency is extremely condemnable. I am a collector, however, by no means I can consider myself a curator. This is why when finding myself planning the group show “Identity XIII”, I thought I would take on at best the responsibility that comes along with such a task holding on to my pride as a collector. Because being a collector is my identity, my reison d’etre. Thus, in line with this perspective, this exhibition focuses on new works by artists featuring in my collection, with one exception especially added as a tribute to galerie nichido.

Crazy for painting is the title of the exhibition curated by my dear friend, and main curator of the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (MOMAT), Kenjiro Hosaka. With love as the key, Hosaka investigated the possibilities of Marcel Duchamp’s idea, expressed through his work The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even, alternatively called love machine, “to further hold on to paintings, while gradually escaping from optical works”. Eventually, he landed to the theme of the exhibition that consisted of the idea that defines the painting’s goal as “that entity worth of receiving love and affection, whether it is one’s own feelings, someone else’s, or the community’s”. Painting as love. What a beautiful way to put it indeed. However, after all for me it may be more about the artworks. Artworks as love. For a collector, an artwork is exactly that entity worth receiving love and affection. However, just as for an unrequited love, controversial are the feelings when, for some reason, we are not able to get the piece we longed for. A strong desire or a feeling of attachment, and yet without going as far as talking about hateful feelings, we find ourselves carrying on ambivalent emotions.

“Je t’aime ... moi mon plus” is the most representative song of the outstandingly dandy French artist Serge Gainsbourg. The English translation of the title is “I love you .... me neither”. Gainsbourg released two original duet versions, one performed with actress Brigitte Bardot (1967), and one with Jane Birkin (1969), but the song has been remade as a solo version, too. These are the words I borrowed for this exhibition’s title: they reflect my feelings, otherwise difficult to put into words, and match with the exhibition I planned for this group show. Also, this exhibition is about paintings (including a few pictures and relief images) as a homage to Mr. Hosaka who took on many of my suggestions, and, with a bit of malice, it shows some part of the lyrics’ contents. Well then, let’s embark together on this profound journey we call love.