Nov. 12, 1996 (c) Feb. 18, 1997 (a)

Column Index - Jan. 28, 1997

a) The Graduates' Exhibitions Seen as "Rookie Exhibitions"

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The Graduates' Exhibitions Seen as "Rookie Exhibitions"


Any university has a "newcomers' exhibition" as an established system, which is generally called the "graduates' exhibitions" (="sotsuten"). In London and New York, this type of exhibition is a great opportunity to discover new artists, and it attracts the attention of many galleries, critics and journalists. However, in Japan, we have never heard any "graduates' exhibition" becoming the focus of attention.

Of course, the reason for this is related to the fact that the Japanese gallery system allows the newcomers to present their works on a grand stage like "Ginza", as long as the budget permits. In an environment like Europe, where few artists make a debut at a town gallery, and where the majority of artists cannot have a solo show nor even a place for official presentation of their works, the "graduates' exhibitions" held by the colleges could become the first and last opportunity for the chance to find a "hit", thus the enthusiasm of the artists and the visitors are naturally quite different from that of Japan.

Even with those differences in mind, why are Japanese graduates' exhibitions treated so indifferently, almost being ignored? Even in the review column of Bijutsu Techo, which has contributed much to the debut of a new artist, has not taken up these exhibitions, which should be treated as a place of opportunity to find truly new upcoming artists.

The development of new artists has already become an established process - <presentation at a rented gallery in Ginza -< an article on Bijutsu Techo -< selection to different types of group exhibitions -< exhibition at a public art museum>. In addition to this format, which is an institutionalized establishment of competition led by a bureaucratic initiative, the targets to whom the works are shown have been limited to the public art museum curators (the art bureaucrats) and the group related to them, who offer an easier access to the collections whether directly or indirectly, and the trend for works being produced without consideration for the general public's eyes is becoming even stronger. If so, this type of "graduates' exhibitions" which are held, ignoring such a system whether good or bad, should be considered one of the few presentation opportunities which are worth the attention today.

From January 8th to February 25th, at the display room of the Art Resource Hall, at the Tokyo University of Fine Art, an exhibition of the second Ph. D. course of the Fine Art Research Department of the Graduate School for 1996 will be held. This year, works by ten artists will be presented, and we look forward to the result of this show very much.

[Noi SAWARAGI/Art Critic]

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Nov. 12, 1996 (c) Feb. 18, 1997 (a)

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