MOT Annual 2021
A sea, a living room and a skull
The Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo’s MOT Annual is an exhibition series held since 1999 to introduce the new current of contemporary art in Japan through the work of young artists. MOT Annual 2021: A sea, a living room and a skull will expand its scope and present artists from various cultural backgrounds in order to introduce artistic practices that resonate with one other and reflect on our time experiencing an unprecedented global pandemic.
Numerous social implications of the public health crisis, such as tighter administrative control over individuals and growing stigmas and divisions among people remind us that the body is fundamentally a political domain, constantly entangled with and affected by external forces and entities. The artists introduced in this exhibition, Ishu Han, Daisuke Kosugi, and Maya Watanabe, utilize moving image as their primary medium and capture bodies, or their absence, in specific situations and landscapes in order to explore the negotiation and struggle between an individual and dominant social systems or ideologies.
Ishu Han’s video work documents his seemingly impromptu performances in Aomori Prefecture, where he moved from Shanghai as a child. His solitary gestures and actions made in natural landscapes render visible the ineffable inner experience of being an “other” and his in-between status as someone bound to two nation-states. Daisuke Kosugi presents A False Weight (2019), which depicts the struggle of his father’s disabled body in his domestic space within a standardized architecture, and a new work that delves into how traumatic flashbacks (PTSD) are experienced throughout body. Maya Watanabe has been engaging with the memories and unresolved violence of the internal conflict that seized her country, Peru, in the 1980s and 1990s. Three of her films are presented in this exhibition: Sceneries (2016), Liminal (2019). They capture landscapes and bodies suspended in between the past and present, witnessing the violence that continues to haunt Peruvian society.
These works—produced by engaging with the lives of individuals—grapple with the various forces that penetrate our existence and mediate our conduct, and explore the potential of restoring agency and dignity. Furthermore, the artists’ conceptual pursuit of moving image extends into the installations and the rendering of the viewers’ audiovisual experience, giving insight into how we understand and embody the idea of time and space. Through these artists’ explorations into immediate or distant terrains that contour the conditions of their subjects, the exhibition invites a reflection on what mediates our perspectives and subjecthood in contemporary society.
List of Works
Born 1987 in Shanghai, lives and works in Tokyo. Han works in various mediums including video, installation, photography, and performance to examine the subjective nature of identity and difference as inscribed in the collective and the individual. Much of his work is derived from his personal experiences, from moving to Japan as a child to his life in Tokyo today. Using objects, his own body, and the bodies of others, he alludes to ideologies and societal norms inscribed in our gaze and our everyday behavior. By utilizing a poetic visual language that is often laced with humor, his work provides an imaginative sphere to negotiate those forces.
Han has participated in numerous exhibitions and residencies in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Taiwan, and China. In 2020, he was awarded the Nissan Art Award 2020 Grand Prix.
Born 1984 in Tokyo, lives and works in Oslo. Incorporating performance, text, sound, and sculpture, Kosugi utilizes video as his primary medium to produce work that focuses on dislocated subjectivity in a normalized social milieu. He often works closely with his family members and other individuals in order to explore their inner lives, weighing the notion of real versus imaginary, probing the incommunicability of physical and mental pain, and questioning empathy.
Kosugi’s work has been exhibited widely in Norway and in various international institutions including the Jeu de Paume in Paris, CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux, and the Amparo Museum in Puebla, Mexico. His work was exhibited at the 11th Gwangju Biennale in Gwangju, South Korea, and he has been invited to a number of international film festivals and participated in artist-in-residency programs in Europe.
Born 1983 in Lima, Peru. Lives and works in Amsterdam. Watanabe’s video installations captures the materiality of living things and its metamorphosis in microscopic yet abstract images, in order reflect upon the singularity of life and death. She also brings forth scenes and moments that conjure the pervading forces—be they natural or societal—that penetrate life, often beyond the limits of human perception, imagination, and memory. In recent years, she has shed light on the political turmoil in Peru in 1980s and 1990s, in an attempt to bear witness to the violence that continues to haunt Peruvian society and its people.
Watanabe has exhibited her work in a number of countries and regions, including MAXXI - National Museum of 21st Century Art in Rome, the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo in Lima, the 7th Asian Art Biennial in Taichung City, Taiwan, and the 13th Havana Biennial. She has also produced audiovisual set design for theaters. She was a resident at the Kyoto Art Center in 2017 and was awarded the Han Nefkens Foundation – ARCO Madrid Video Art Production Award in 2018.
- Exhibition Period
July 17 (Sat) – October 17 (Sun), 2021
Mondays (except July 26, August 2, 9, 30, September 20), August 10, September 21
- Opening Hours
10:00 - 18:00 (Tickets available until 30 minutes before closing.)
Adults – 1,300 yen / University & College Students, Over 65 – 900 yen / High School & Junior High School Students – 500yen / Elementary School Students & Younger – Free
* There are also reserved priority tickets. Click here for tickets.
* Ticket includes admission to the MOT Collection exhibition.
* Children younger than elementary school age need to be accompanied by a guardian.
* Persons with a Physical Disability Certificate, Intellectual Disability Certificate, Intellectual Disability Welfare Certificate, or Atomic Bomb Survivor Welfare Certificate as well as up to two attendants are admitted free of charge.
Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Exhibition Gallery B2F
Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo operated by Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture
- Grant from
Mondriaan Fonds, Office for Contemporary Art Norway
* All programs are subject to change.
Gallery tour led by the curator of the exhibition
Date & time: August 29 (Sun), 2021, 15:00-15:40
Venue: Exhibition Gallery B2F
Number of participants: 10
* Booking is not required. Numbered tickets will be distributed on a first-come basis at the entrance of the exhibition from 10 am on the day of the event.
* Please come to the entrance of the exhibition on B2F, and present your numbered ticket and ticket to the exhibition.
* A wireless audio guide system will be used as a preventive measure against COVID-19.
* Please note all events dates and details are subject to change.