Chim↑Pom, Photo: Seiha Yamaguchi

HERE AND NOW at Museum Ludwig: together for and against it

Novem­ber 13, 2021 – Fe­bruary 13, 2022

Artists: Chim↑Pom, Ko­ki Ta­na­ka With pho­to­graphs by Mi­noru Hi­ra­ta from the M+ col­lec­tion: Per­for­mances by the artist col­lec­tives Hi Red Cen­ter, Sight­see­ing Art Re­search In­sti­tute, Kuro­ha­ta, Ze­ro Di­men­sion, and the artists Ushio Shi­no­hara and Kan­ji Itoi (1963–1969)

With the ex­hi­bi­tion to­gether for and against it, the Mu­se­um Lud­wig is fo­cus­ing on po­si­tions of con­tem­po­rary art in Ja­pan and their his­tor­i­cal pre­de­ces­sors. A start­ing point is the con­sid­er­a­tion of the Ja­pa­nese avant-garde in the 1960s from to­day’s per­spec­tives. What de­vel­op­ments in the post-war pe­ri­od did artists re­act to at the time? What mo­ti­vat­ed their sen­sa­tio­n­al public per­for­mances? What moves the artist col­lec­tive Chim↑Pom and the artist Ko­ki Ta­na­ka to­day, and how do they re­late to this his­tor­i­cal move­ment?

A loan of his­tor­i­cal pho­to­graphs by Mi­noru Hi­ra­ta is the point of de­par­ture for the sev­enth ex­hi­bi­tion in the pro­ject se­ries HERE AND NOW at Mu­se­um Lud­wig. Th­ese come from the col­lec­tion of M+ in Hong Kong, which has been a part­n­er mu­se­um of the Mu­se­um Lud­wig since 2018. Yil­maz Dziewior: “The loan from M+ in Hong Kong makes clear that un­til now East Asian per­spec­tives have hard­ly been rep­re­sent­ed in the col­lec­tion of the Mu­se­um Lud­wig."

The Ja­pa­nese avant-garde of the post-war pe­ri­od emerged af­ter the oc­cu­pa­tion by the Unit­ed States mil­i­tary (1945 to 1952) and is close­ly linked to the eco­nom­ic and so­cial re­ori­en­ta­tion of Ja­pan dur­ing this pe­ri­od. The de­moc­ra­ti­za­tion of the coun­try un­der the fi­nan­cial and po­lit­i­cal in­flu­ence of the Unit­ed States brought with it great eco­nom­ic growth, so­cial changes, and cul­tu­r­al shifts. The close ties be­tween Ja­pan and the Unit­ed States are evi­dent in the two se­cu­ri­ty treaties signed in 1960 and 1970. Among other things, they in­clud­ed the sta­tion­ing of the Unit­ed States mil­i­tary in Ja­pan, which was met with ma­jor protests es­pe­cial­ly by stu­dents and unions. The po­lice re­spond­ed with bru­tal vi­o­lence. In the same de­cade, Ja­pan pre­pared for the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo and Ex­po ’70 in Os­a­ka in or­der to pre­sent the coun­try in an in­no­va­tive and at­trac­tive light.

Young artists, in­clud­ing mem­bers of the Neo Da­da, Hi Red Cen­ter, and Ze­ro Di­men­sion col­lec­tives, re­act­ed to the so­cial changes of the 1960s with high-pro­file per­for­mances in ma­jor ci­ties such as Tokyo, Na­goya, and Ky­o­to. Their provoca­tive per­for­mances man­i­fest­ed protests against his­tor­i­cal­ly grow­ing problems, since the conse­quences of the war were far-reach­ing: the sta­tion­ing of the Unit­ed States mil­i­tary in Ja­pan, dis­crim­i­na­tion against mi­grants, and the in­jus­tices of a class-based so­ci­e­ty. The artists brought th­ese in­jus­tices to light and ad­vo­cat­ed for de­moc­ra­ti­za­tion. The his­tor­i­cal pho­to­graphs from M+ doc­u­ment the per­for­mances of vari­ous artist col­lec­tives in the 1960s.

Th­ese are jux­ta­posed with two con­tem­po­rary po­si­tions. The six-mem­ber artist col­lec­tive Chim↑Pom, found­ed in Tokyo in 2005, will of­fer a hu­mor­ous in­ter­ven­tion. Their per­for­mances of­ten take place out­side of in­sti­tu­tio­n­al sett­ings. In their iron­ic and rad­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties, the six artists take a stand on cur­rent so­cial and po­lit­i­cal is­sues and criti­cize the ta­boo on the dan­gers of nu­clear pow­er, pover­ty, and other so­cial im­bal­ances in Ja­pan. Un­der the ti­tle Dou­ble Sto­ries of Mu­se­um Lud­wig, the col­lec­tive is de­vel­op­ing a mul­ti-part work in Cologne which en­ables vari­ous pro­cess­es of exchange be­tween in­te­ri­or and ex­te­ri­or spaces. Street mu­si­cians who were spon­ta­neous­ly ap­proached will give a con­cert at the Mu­se­um Lud­wig. Mo­tifs from Hans Haacke’s The Cho­co­late Mas­ter (1981) from the col­lec­tion of the Mu­se­um Lud­wig can be found on the pack­ag­ing of Turk­ish sweets in the pas­try shop Hasan Öz­dağ on Ke­up­s­trasse in Mül­heim. Five play­ers from FC Köln (wo­m­en's soc­cer team) will al­so leave im­pres­sions of soc­cer balls in the ex­hi­bi­tion space.

In con­trast to the in­ter­ac­tive pro­jects de­vel­oped on site by Chim↑Pom, the artist Ko­ki Ta­na­ka (*1975 in Tochi­gi) has been plan­n­ing his works for a long time. He de­lib­er­ate­ly brings peo­ple of dif­fer­ent gen­er­a­tions and back­grounds to­gether. Ta­na­ka of­ten doc­u­ments and pro­cess­es th­ese col­lab­o­ra­tive in­ter­ac­tions in the form of pho­to and video in­s­tal­la­tions. Since even be­fore the Fukushi­ma nu­clear dis­as­ter, his work has re­volved around the be­havior of com­mu­ni­ties in ex­cep­tio­n­al si­t­u­a­tions. How do peo­ple de­vel­op po­ten­tials of re­sis­tance by aban­don­ing their usu­al routines? The video in­s­tal­la­tion Ab­s­tract­ed/Fam­i­ly (2019/2020) deals with the his­to­ry of Ja­pa­nese mi­gra­tion and ev­ery­day ra­cism in Ja­pan. Four pro­ta­g­on­ists from Ja­pan whose fam­i­lies come from Bangladesh, Brazil, Bo­livia, and the Ko­re­an penin­su­la pro­cess their trau­mat­ic ex­pe­ri­ences to­gether.

The ex­hi­bi­tion was de­vel­oped by Na­na Tazuke-Steiniger as part of her fel­low­ship Forschungsvolon­tari­at Kun­st­museen NRW or­ganized by the state of North Rhine-West­phalia. Six young aca­demics from North Rhine-West­phalia came to­gether and found­ed an ini­tia­tive on the top­ic of “mu­se­um of the fu­ture.” A man­i­fes­to by the ini­tia­tive will be pub­lished in the ex­hi­bi­tion, de­tail­ing their vi­sion for the fu­ture as well as the chal­lenges fac­ing mu­se­ums. This will al­so be pub­lished in the ex­hi­bi­tion ca­t­a­logue, which will be re­leased at the end of the ex­hi­bi­tion.

The ex­hi­bi­tion re­ceived sub­s­tan­tial sup­port from the HERE AND NOW group of mem­bers of the Ge­sellschaft für Mod­erne Kunst am Mu­se­um Lud­wig e.V. and the Storch Foun­da­tion. Ad­di­tio­n­al fund­ing came from Russ­me­dia and the Po­la Art Foun­da­tion as well as a con­tri­bu­tion in kind by Kun­s­trasen­welt.

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