Looking at 2013 from 1952 Nagoya

Artist: Rigo 23
Location: Nagoya, Japan
Year: 2013
Researcher: Jun Kitazawa

Looking at 2013 from 1952 is an artwork created by an artist, Rigo23 for “Aichi Triennale 2013”. He was born in Madeira Island, Portugal and currently based in San Francisco. One of the parts of his exhibition was held in the same place as the previous triennale, Choja-machi, which is well known for the fiber wholesale business. The location stands out, even from the pedestrians. Empty rooms of the old Tamaya building were perfect for the exhibition and by 2013, first and second floors were taken to build cafes and restaurants. It was Rigo23 that chose to use the Tamaya building’s outer wall as a canvas. His demand for using the big outer wall as a main material somehow made sense with the location of this building.

Since Rigo23 has entered the area he started collecting materials to learn history of the location. Throughout the research a photo from 1950 has captured his heart. It was taken by a famous post-war photographer, which lead Rigo23 to look into photography of Nagoya. The photo showed an image of five workers climbed up on the ladder and setting an electric wire. Other workers were holding the ladder and some were looking up at the workers. This was taken on the most busiest street where the large department stores stand. It also captured the stages of the construction of this city and at the same time symbolizing the revival from the war. Rigo23 used the photo as a motif to paint the outer wall, which reminds the audience, the past scenery of Choja-machi.

In today’s Choja-machi (2016) the painting still exists on the old Tamaya building managed by “Choja- machi Art Annual”. Moreover, the empty rooms of the buildings are in the practical use labeled as, “Art Labo Aichi Choja-machi” run by the local NPO.

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Rigo23 has been involved in the productions of many public art projects in the past. Unlike other participatory art he created a ‘painting’, which does not seem to care the general concept of public art today; the social engagement, corporative, and anonymity. Therefore, this simple painting has a value. The motif is enlarged and painted in greyscale covering all three surfaces of the old Tamaya building. In January 2016, there has been a construction of car parks around that area, which made an easy access to the painting. The shape of the building and the surrounding environment; all the factors that relate to the final product has been well calculated. When paying close attention, one may recognize the portrayal of the old Nagoya city. The title implies the importance of looking back and understanding the past, may change the way we look at the present.

“Looking at 2013 from 1952” was created for Aichi Triennale 2013. The architect, Taro Igarashi was the art director and titled, “Awakening – Where Are We Standing? – Earth, Memory and Resurrection”. The triennale was held in August the 13th until the 27th of October 2013. One hundred and twenty-two artists has participated and six hundred and twenty thousand people have visited. Each curator and producer took his or her professional roles and became the centre of the project planning.

All copyright belongs to Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts, Shanghai University.

Progress Agency