TERRADA ART AWARD 2023: A Beacon of Artistic Excellence and Innovation at Terrada Warehouse

Fostering Artistic Brilliance: The Journey of Tennozu's Artistic Renaissance through the TERRADA ART AWARD 2023

 The “TERRADA ART AWARD 2023,” aimed at supporting emerging artists in contemporary art, selected five finalists from over 1,000 artist entries approximately ten months from the start of applications. The TERRADA ART AWARD, hosted in the warehouse space of  Terrada Warehouse (G3-6F), has been a stage for internationally active artists.

Photo by Yusuke Suzuki (USKfoto)

Unique Approach to Artistic Recognition

The TERRADA ART AWARD stands out in the realm of art awards. It eschews traditional rankings like a “Grand Prize.” Instead, each finalist is bestowed with individual “Jury Awards,” comprising critiques, advice, and forward-looking messages. This approach underlines a commitment to nurturing artistic talent holistically, rather than merely celebrating it.

Empowering Artists with Unprecedented Opportunities

Each finalist in the 2023 edition was awarded a significant sum of 3 million yen, coupled with the opportunity to exhibit at the Finalists Exhibition. This opportunity wasn’t just a mere showcasing of talent but a real-world platform for these artists to experiment and realize their ambitious projects. Held in the warehouse space of Terrada Warehouse (G3-6F), a venue with a legacy of hosting globally acclaimed artists, this exhibition provided a unique canvas for creative expression.

Transforming Tennozu: From Warehouses to Art Galleries

Photo by Yusuke Suzuki (USKfoto)

Terrada Warehouse’s involvement in the art sector dates back to the 1970s, with a notable history in art and artifact storage. It has recently amplified its role in the art world by launching art-related facilities like WHAT MUSEUM and TERRADA ART COMPLEX. In July 2023, the company took a significant leap by partnering with the international art fair, Tokyo Gendai, further catalyzing the transformation of Tennozu from a warehouse district to a thriving art hub.

Finalists: The Vanguard of Contemporary Art

TERRADA ART AWARD 2023 Award Ceremony. From the row left: Mitsuo Kim, Yuma Tomiyasu, Yuki Harada, Satoshi Murakami, and yang02 are the finalists. 

The award ceremony was a testament to the diverse and dynamic nature of contemporary art. The finalists – Mitsuo Kim, Yuma Tomiyasu, Yuki Harada, Satoshi Murakami, and yang02 – each brought their unique perspectives and creative prowess to the fore. Their works, ranging from immersive installations to innovative digital art, not only captivated the audience but also reflected the evolving landscape of modern art.

Each finalist and their awarded work are highlighted:

Yuma Tomiyasu was awarded the Takahiro Kaneshima Prize for creating “an extremely strange and unstable space, where one wants to stay for 4 to 5 minutes.” Drawing from her interest in unscientific phenomena such as paranormal activities and psychic powers, Tomiyasu has been working on immersive installations that evoke the perception of the invisible and the uncertain. For this award, she presented an installation piece called “The Shift” (2024), which is themed around the inorganic nature of the warehouse, combining painting, sound, lighting, and structures. “Lately, I have been interested in ‘dimensional shifts’ and ‘layers of dimensions.’ Since paintings have a high affinity with ‘dimensions,’ I have incorporated them into this exhibition,” said Tomiyasu. The piece, a 4-minute and 10-second loop, was praised by juror Kaneshima who urged viewers to “stay in the exhibition room for at least 4 to 5 minutes” and commended the way Tomiyasu incorporated a ‘shift’ of perspective into the act of viewing the artwork. The work combines paintings, sound, lighting, and structures and is praised for its integration of viewers’ perspectives and contemplation on the nature of art itself and the experience.

Yuki Harada received the Yukie Kamiya Prize for “a new challenge of interweaving portraits, narratives, and subtitles using technology.” Harada, known for creating works based on widely recognized visual culture motifs, despite their triviality, was awarded for his piece “Shadowing (Three Self-Portraits)” (2024), focusing on transnational cultural motifs such as “Hawaiian Pidgin English.” Expressing gratitude for the award and the opportunity it provided, Harada mentioned, “In Hawaii, while trying to depict ‘our story,’ I discovered my roots and felt like I was coming back to myself. I’m proud to have created a ‘new self-portrait’ reflecting the modern era. I feel like I have reached a position where I can realize my dream plans, which are only possible for a limited number of people. I want to continue working with more responsibility, being aware that I am drawing self-portraits from such a privileged position.” Juror Kamiya encouraged Harada, stating, “His work intricately combines elements that connect individual existence with society and others across time and space, using digital technology to layer portraits, narratives, and subtitles on a single screen. I want to cheer for his new challenge.” This work intricately blends portraits, narratives, and subtitles using digital technology.

Artwork by Yuki Harada, Photo by Katsura Muramatsu

yang02 was awarded the Yuki Terase Prize for “expressing the poignant and absurd aspects of art in a cynical work.” yang02, who creates installation works by intervening and misappropriating existing dynamic products and information systems using modern technology, presented “Great Emptiness” (2024). This 30-minute ‘device-based theater piece’ performed only at specific times on weekdays at 5 PM and on weekends at 3 PM and 5 PM, remains covered with blue sheets outside these times, concealing its entirety and even parts from view. Juror Terase commented, “This work expresses the poignant and irrational aspects of art, such as art swallowed by capitalism, art being consumed, and art tirelessly stored in warehouses without being admired. By awarding yang02 the Yuki Terase Prize, which is closest to the art market among the jurors, I hope to further confuse him and encourage the creation of even better works.”

Satoshi Murakami received the Daito Manabe Prize for “providing new perspectives and discoveries, and allowing us to rediscover the beauty and problems of everyday life.” Murakami, who has transformed his presence in public spaces into artwork, such as living in a homemade styrofoam house and using advertising revenue to live inside a billboard, was awarded for his work “Those Plotting a Revolution” (2024), which originated from a dream he had. Murakami recalled a dream where a stage prop-like ‘bush’ spoke to him. “Around the same time, I had this dream, my grandfather, who is showing signs of dementia, came into my brother’s room asking for the exit and mistook the coat hanger in the corridor for a person. These events overlapped with my dream. When giving these experiences a form as artwork, I thought the issue of contour lines in drawing could also be considered. I am grateful to my grandfather, the people around me, and the TERRADA ART AWARD, who indirectly encouraged me to realize this work plan, and I want to continue to do my best,” he said. Juror Manabe praised, “Murakami’s work provides new perspectives and discoveries to the familiar world by uniquely altering everyday landscapes, allowing us to rediscover the beauty and problems of daily life. When I first saw the plan sheet of his work, it was hard to articulate, but I really wanted to see it realized. The work lasts for an hour and a half, but I hope everyone will watch the whole thing.” This work, emerging from personal and familial experiences, explores the role of contour lines in drawing.

Artwork by Satoshi Murakami, Photo by Yusuke Suzuki (USKfoto)

Mitsuo Kim received the Meruro Washida Prize for “tactile work that carries the meaning of connecting separated things.” Mitsuo Kim, who is known for his work with wax (paraffin wax) that changes shape with heat, creating both flat and three-dimensional artworks, received the Meruro Washida Prize. In the exhibition, he presented an installation centered around “Goodbye My Love” (2023), where a red canoe made of wax, placed on a metal stand with a heat source, slowly melts and collapses. The melting wax, reminiscent of lava and blood, left a profound impression with its vividness.

Kim reflected on recent events, saying, “Lately, with the news of the war in Ukraine, I often think of images of fathers going to war and families fleeing the country. These reminded me of stories from my mother and grandparents.” He expressed his thoughts on the award, “It took me time to express my identity through my work, but receiving this award gives me the confidence to show how I am connected to this world. I want to continue working, aligning myself with the fluidity of the wax.”

Juror Washida explained the reason for awarding Kim, “The canoe, symbolizing Kim’s identity between Korea and Japan, represents the ‘in-between.’ Previously, his works involved filling actual canoes with wax, but this time he created the canoe itself out of wax, with plans for the entire structure to melt and change shape. This makes the vulnerability of the canoe more evident, enhancing the strength of the work. This aspect was one of the reasons I looked forward to his new creation.” This piece, symbolizing vulnerabilities and connections, was inspired by personal reflections on identity and the fluidity of wax.

Artwork by Mitsuo Kim, Photo by Yusuke Suzuki (USKfoto)

Fostering a Global Art Community

The TERRADA ART AWARD 2023 is more than an event; it’s a movement. By empowering emerging artists and providing them with a platform to showcase their talents, Terrada Warehouse is not just contributing to the local art scene but is also making a mark on the global art stage. The award, its associated initiatives, and the transformative journey of Tennozu into an international art city symbolize a future where art transcends boundaries and artists are the vanguards of cultural evolution. The TERRADA ART AWARD 2023 is a beacon of artistic excellence and innovation, playing a crucial role in shaping the future of contemporary art and transforming Tennozu into a vibrant art hub.

It was a wonderful opportunity for me to attend the event of TERRADA ART AWARD 2023 Exhibition at Terrada Warehouse G3-6F, it’s a vibrant showcase of emerging artistry in Tokyo. From January 10th to January 28th, 2024, immerse yourself in the creative expressions of Mitsuo Kim, Yuma Tomiyasu, Yuki Harada, Satoshi Murakami, and yang02. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to experience the forefront of contemporary art and experience their unique immersive style of Artwork!

Terrada Warehouse G3-6F

Map: https://maps.app.goo.gl/edCWWpQD4MuwELQu7

Access: 7 min walk from Rinkai line Tennoz Isle Station

Date:Jan 10th (Wed)〜Jan 28th (Sun), 2024

Hours: 11:00 〜 18:00

Price: Free

Official Website: https://www.terradaartaward.com/en/

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