Asian art has moved beyond its heavy image in Tokyo

December 2004 -

Do Indian artists always make social-political statements? And are Indonesian artists constantly concerned about identity because their country is made up of so many different peoples?

The exposition 'Have we met?', to be held from 11 December 2004 through 30 January 2005 in the Japan Foundation in Tokyo, presents work that goes beyond the stereotype images that Asians have of one another and that others have about Asians.


'Giving a half reason' - Eko Nugroho, 2003, acryl on canvas, 60 x 70 cm

The exposition is the third in a series organised by the Japan Foundation about the changing reality in Asia. 'Have we met?' was compiled by the Indonesian artist/curator Ade Darmawan, Thai author Prabda Yoon and two curators: Pooja Sood from India and Kohno Haruko from Japan. The title 'Have we met?' refers to Asia - according to Kohno Haruko a collection of familiar strangers or unknown neighbours 'and to the short encounters between the exposition composers themselves. Works by young, relatively unknown artists are shown.

'We have attempted to go beyond the heaviness of the imagery of much politically-engaged work in Asia,' says Ade Darmawan. 'That imagery is often used as a unique selling point by Asian artists. Some works of art are politically engaged, but utilise a different strategy. The exposition is about attempts to establish communication and to remember'

'The work follows the principle of pleasure. The exposition challenges prejudices about identities, both the Asian identity and that of contemporary art. The exposition goes against the idea that one exposition can show what contemporary Asian art is,' says Kohno Haruko in her explanation. 'Perhaps we can meet Asia in the fact that the continent is continually in a transitional phase. It is trapped between a past that has never been fully explored and a future that has not yet arrived.'