Yokohama Triennale 2017 “Islands, Constellations & Galapagos,” opening to the public on August 4, will feature large-scale installations inside and outside of Yokohama Museum of Art, works revisiting Yokohama and its history as one of the first ports that opened to foreign countries, and those by young international artists to be premiered in Japan.
Ai Weiwei consistently produces work that relates to his own social context and pushes his activities toward expanding the conceptual boundaries of art. For Yokohama Triennale 2017, he presents a largescale installation addressing the ongoing refugee crisis, with lifeboats hanging on the façade and recovered lifejackets covering the columns of Yokohama Museum of Art.
Meanwhile, inside the museum in the Grand Gallery, Joko Avianto’s dynamic new work is a structure inspired by the traditional Japanese braided rope called a shimenawa, woven with distinctive techniques from 2,000 shoots of Indonesian bamboo. Bamboo has long been popular in Indonesia as a material for houses and daily necessities, and through this work, Avianto explores the loss of traditional culture in his country and symbiosis between human beings and nature.
Yokohama Triennale 2017 features works of art dealing with Yokohama’s history and role as one of the starting points of Japan’s modernization. At Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse No. 1, an important piece of the city’s historical heritage, Ozawa Tsuyoshi exhibits a new work from his “The Return of …” Series illustrating the overseas activities of historical figures. It traces the activities of a Yokohama-born art historian and philosopher legendary for his trailblazing ideas and writings during the Meiji Era (1868-1912).
Christian Jankowski, known for video works brimming with both humor and pathos, shows a new piece in which a massage therapist diagnoses and works on Yokohama public sculptures to improve Japan’s flow of chi ahead of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
Zhao Zhao and Ian Cheng are two young artists that have emerged remarkably in recent years, and whose work will be featured in a major Japanese exhibition for the first time. In the video Project Taklamakan, Zhao carries a refrigerator out into the Taklamakan Desert, his homeland and the site of frequent ethnic conflicts, connects it to power cables, and drinks cold beer. With humor and a magnificent sense of scale, he sheds a light on the history of Silk Road transmitting and exchanging goods, people, and cultures, as well as its current isolated state.
Meanwhile, Ian Cheng presents Emissary Forks At Perfection, a video about cognitive evolution in a closed and monitored world. Game programming is used to simulate various situations in real time, and Shiba dogs acting as divine emissaries repeatedly collide and evolve on the screen as an unpredictable story unfolds.