Director's Note 005
Ground and Pattern September 21, 2002

Contemporary art is still “difficult to understand” for many people and not approachable. So, we need to ponder what it means to “understand,” however, I would like to write about the things I have realized through repeating the “Director’s Guide.”
People become much more interested in the artists’ works when I provide a little explanation of the site, the horserace field.

“This racehorse field is used for ‘Ban-ei horseracing’ in the winter. Other than in that season, it is empty, just like it is now. However, this is not the ruins of a track. Everything will be used again. In this stable, in winter, there will be a horse. More than 700 horses and 4500 people, including the families of stable men, will come. A town will suddenly appear in this space.

The stable zone spreading to the west of the racehorse track still has the look of old Obihiro. You can see such a landscape within one kilometer of Obihiro Station. Regarding the relationship between people and horses in Tokachi, this is a cultural legacy. This time, I wanted to use a contemporary art exhibition to reveal such a site to the local community. I think of ‘ground and pattern.’ You can think of curtains or wallpaper. You have such a wonderful ground, but you take it for granted. So by adding some unfamiliar patterns, you will rediscover the extraordinary ground. I see the contemporary artworks in Demeter as such ‘patterns.’”
I try to convey my feelings in this way.

I have been always interested in this idea of “ground and pattern.” It became clear to me as I was speaking to the audience. Why did I give the subtitle, “art and environment” to P3, the team I lead?
I try to focus on the interaction between art, which is people’s work, and the environment, that is, the surroundings. I have received some critiques about the video works from art critics and journalists I respect. They have criticized that the video works are not site-specific, as they can be shown anywhere. They also wrote that some artists brought works that are unrelated to Obihiro. However, I do not think that video works are limited to the screens and monitors that show the works. That way of thinking is similar to the idea that paintings are in frames and sculptures are on stands. I actually saw Kim Sooja’s video work, in the back of a stable, and Cine Nomad’s Three Windows, in the restructured Mongolian ger, with feelings totally different from when the works were shown on the white wall of a museum.

I began thinking about what was produced from “Demeter.”

(Written by Serizawa Takashi)