ニック・ケイヴ《回転する森》2016/2020 Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa
ニック・ケイヴ《回転する森》2016/2020 Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

Five things to do at the 2020 Yokohama Triennale

For its closing weekend, October 10-11, the art festival is streaming two pieces of performance art

By
Emma Steen
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The Yokohama Triennale, first held in 2001 and occurs just once every three years, is one of Japan’s biggest international art events. This year’s edition, with the title of ‘Afterglow’, marks the first time the exhibition has been organised by an artistic director from overseas. The Raqs Media Collective from Delhi was selected to curate the triennale, but the collective’s three artists chose to do things differently this time by building the event around ‘sources’ rather than a single theme.

The event spans three venues – Yokohama Museum of Art, Plot 48 and NYK Maritime Museum – and will run until October 11. Here’s how to get the most out of Yokohama Triennale – both in-person and online. 

Yokohama Triennale
Eva Fàbregas 'Karameai', Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

Immerse yourself in curious installations 

Rather than being an exhibition of two-dimensional art, the Yokohama Triennale includes installations incorporating light, sound and sculpture. Highlights include Eva Fàbregas’s sculpture of soft winding tubes, ‘Karameai’ (pictured above), which were made to resemble a human intestine; a glittering forest of lawn ornaments by Nick Cave; and an installation of floodlights by Haig Aivazian

Yokohama Triennale
Photo: fb.com/YOKOHAMATRIENNALE

Participate in the interactive artworks

If you prefer something more hands-on, the exhibition features three interactive installations that must be booked online. The first is a VR experience by Morehshin Allahyari, which is in English and can accommodate two people at a time, including those in wheelchairs. The second, by Lantian Xie, can take up to an hour and involves participants donning a wearable robot exoskeleton. The third, located at Plot 48, is by Kobe-born artist Takehiro Iikawa. Details on the artwork are scarce, but Iikawa’s work often revolves around the concept of time and the installation is reported to take up to 20 minutes to fully experience.

 

Yokohama Triennale
Hicham Berrada, Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

Examine the artistic process and thought behind the works

To help visitors further understand the ideas and inspiration behind ‘Afterglow’, the Raqs Media Collective has curated a series of texts and materials that resonated with the artists as they created their works. The intention behind it is to supplement the visitor’s experience as they move through the installations and give another perspective on the artistic process. Download the full Sourcebook here.

Contemplate Episōdo

In the months leading up to the exhibition, the Raqs Media Collective organised a series of ‘Episōdo’ (episodes), which were miniature performances that invited the artists to engage with viewers. Though these special events will not be repeated at the exhibition, videos of each one are now available online, so you can get an introduction to the artists before you see their work in person. 

  

Yokohama Triennale
Taus Makhacheva ‘Quantitative Infinity of the Objective, Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

Experience the triennale online from wherever you are

The Yokohama Triennale spans three venues and since travelling isn’t an option for everyone right now, you can also experience part of the exhibition from home. Over the last weekend of the festival, two pieces of performance art will be live-streamed for people to follow along from home. They are: Yuichi Tamura’s ‘The Story of C’, which tells the story of the ship that brought plague to Yokohama in the early 1900s, and Masaru Iwai’s ‘Broom Stars’.

Yuichi Tamura’s piece will be streamed on the Yokohama Triennale website from 10am to 9pm on October 10 and from 10am to 8pm on October 11. Masarau Iwai will stream his piece on his Instagram account from 4.40pm to 5.05 pm on October 11. 

You can also watch some of the festival works on the official YouTube channel. Catch gymnasts rehearsing for Taus Makhacheva’s ‘Quantitative Infinity of the Objective’ installation, Dennis Tan’s ‘The Case of the Ringing Bell’ performance filmed in Sangenjaya, and more.

General admission costs ¥2,000 for adults, ¥1,200 for university students, and ¥800 for high school students (free for junior high school students and younger). Tickets include access to all the Yokohama Triennale sites: the Yokohama Museum of Art, Plot 48 as well as the NYK Maritime Museum (where you'll find Marianne Fahmy’s installation). All tickets must be booked online in advance and entry to the Yokohama Museum of Art comes with an allotted time slot. 

For more information, see the Yokohama Triennale website.

See our guide on going out safely in Tokyo or anywhere, for that matter.

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