After Demeter

General Director, Demeter Tokachi International Contemporary Art Exhibition
Demeter was finished on September 23, 2002. I would like to thank all who were involved, who came to visit Demeter, and were interested in the exhibition. I strongly feel that Demeter was a project that was created by so many people.
Demeter was an interestingly different exhibition. At the beginning, I was planning a “contemporary art exhibition.” When we decided to use the Obihiro Horserace Track for the exhibition site, things began to be a bit different.
Of course, Demeter was not an exhibition to show the horserace track. Yet, it was not going to be a mere device to show the artworks created by the artists. It may sound a bit odd, however, it became unimportant to me that this be perceived as a “contemporary art exhibition” or not, as I was working on the Obihiro Racehorse Track. After letting go of the preconceived notion of what it was, I simply began to enjoy the attractive landscape that had appeared before us.
Demeter was not an event that was completed before it opened. It was not an event run by a planned operation manual. This is related to my belief in the plan and I also take the responsibility as the general director. As we used the horserace field, a site not made for showing art, and being mostly outdoor with the unpredictable weather this past summer, Demeter kept changing its appearance during the period. For example, before the opening, we had to give up on flying Cai Guo Qiang’s UFO because of the typhoon. As many children started to come to the exhibition, we began the programs especially designed for children. When the flow line of the audience had to be changed, we recreated the flow line. Demeter’s hardware and software kept changing during the seventy-three days of the exhibition period. It was a lot of work, but the office and support staff did their best to respond to such directions, and I really appreciated all their efforts.
Demeter as an “exhibition” has finished. As I wrote in the catalog, it vanished in the dreamed illusion of a summer day. And now, the racetrack is back to its old self as if nothing has ever happened.
However, just like Tadashi Kawamata’s work, I am strongly feeling the absence of Demeter. Even it is not here anymore, it still exists. Although Demeter has ended, it feels like Demeter is still going on in somewhere else.
This sense of absence may be the largest result of Demeter. Many young people who have been involved in Demeter began to do various things to overcome the sense of loss. I feel that something has began to change in the city of Obihiro.
I would like to thank everyone who was involved. I hope Demeter is the end of something and, at the same time, the beginning of something else.

(Written by Serizawa Takashi)