"Identity XVI - My Home? -" curated by Kenichi Kondo

2020 8.21 - 9.26

Opening reception: 8/21 (Fri.) 18:00 – 20:00
*Opening talk (by Kenichi Kondo): 8/21 (Fri.) 19:00~ approx. 30 min

Living Migration / Satoshi Murakami, Tokyo, 2020 | Photo: Ryo Uchida
Press Release

Venue: nca | nichido contemporary art
Date: 2020.8/21 (Fri.) – 9/26 (Sat.)
Opening hours: Tue. ~ Sat. 11:00 – 19:00 (Closed on Sunday, Monday and National holidays)
Participating Artists: Tarek Al-Ghoussein | Masaru Iwai | Tohru Kinjo | Kyun-Chome | Lim Sokchanlina
Basir Mahmood | Satoshi Murakami
Curator: Kenichi Kondo
Opening reception: 8/21 (Fri.) 18:00 – 20:00
*Opening talk (by Kenichi Kondo): 8/21 (Fri.) 19:00~ approx. 30 min
kindly supported by: Takuro Someya Contemporary Art | The Third Line

nca | nichido contemporary art is pleased to present the exhibition
“Identity XVI - curated by Kenichi Kondo –".
nca’s Identity-exhibition series addresses, as suggested by the title, the theme of identity each time from a new angle and under a different curatorial guidance. This year’s edition welcomes as guest curator Kenichi Kondo, curator of the Mori Art Museum.


My Home?

It goes without saying that “home” forms part of our identity, whether it is the place we were born or where we find ourselves living now. Similar to the use of “home” and “away” in sports lingo, home represents our territory, so to speak, somewhere we have come to know. It does not, however, always correspond to a constant, safe place. We may feel uncomfortable with it and it can seem foreign to us at times. Our home may also have been several locations over the course of time. Furthermore, in the current situation where outings are not allowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, for some it has become a prison. Now is the time to reconsider what home really means.

Since 2014, Satoshi Murakami has been performing Living Migration, a project in which the artist moves around a self-built styrofoam house, obtains permission to place it on someone else’s land, and spends the night inside it. The project is based on the repetition of this set of actions, prompting us to reconsider our definition of home as well as to examine the issues of homelessness and migration.

Basir Mahmood’s video work In a move, to the better side (2012) shows people carrying a large wooden structure along the Kokai River in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. Is it a home? Giving no clue about their purpose or destination, the work possesses a kind of poetic quality. However, hidden in the background is the story of 21 men from Pakistan, the artist’s home country, who lost their lives inside a shipping container while trying to smuggle themselves to Europe by sea. The work overlays the feelings of all those people who leave their own country looking for a better life somewhere else.

The 2011 Fukushima disaster forced many people to leave their homes inside the areas that were designated as the “difficult-to-return-zone” and to live in temporary housing outside this radioactive zone. In The Story of Making Lies (2015), Kyun-Chome let former residents of these areas erase the bags of radioactive waste and barricades blocking the way to their homes from pictures with the help of Photoshop. The work shows conversations between the artists and the residents that reveal their emotional turmoil. If the barricades were really gone, would people go back to their own homes?

Tohru Kinjo’s Where you stand (2017) is a series of three-dimensional works where flowers and butterflies are arranged along transparent wire meshes. In the artist’s home prefecture of Okinawa, fences symbolize the American military bases on the island. For local people there, however, such fences have almost become an invisible entity, as if transparent, long rooted in their everyday lives. The title questions our stance as viewers.

Masaru Iwai’s Flag Cleaning (2010) is a video work produced during the artist’s stay in Taiwan. In the video set at an old, Japanese colonial era-style house, two people clean the location with both Taiwanese and Japanese flags. The artist states: “A flag is just a piece of cloth.” The intermixed sounds of the Taiwanese song “The Three Principles of the People” (San Min Chu) and the Japanese national anthem (Kimigayo) play in the background. It is true that our notion of home is constructed by the nation-state, something which determines our lives, and indeed we cannot help but feel ambivalent about that immense entity.

Lim Sokchanlina’s National Road Number 5 (2015) is a series of photographs that depict private roadside dwellings partially demolished following the expansion of the titular highway that connects Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, with Thailand. People continue to inhabit some of the houses, even though they are semi-destroyed. The work simultaneously expresses the violence of those in power as well as the resilience of local people.

Tarek Al-Ghoussein’s Al Sawaber (2016) is a series of photographs that documents the Al Sawaber public house complex in Kuwait City. A landmark of the city, the deteriorating structure has recently been demolished on the orders of the national government but nonetheless preserved inside the walls of its apartments scattered fragments of the everyday lives of those who once lived there. And we find ourselves using our imaginations to picture various stories.

This exhibition explores a notion of “home” that differs from the peaceful, secure, and stable environment typically evoked by the term “my home.” Such a notion is connected to social issues both around us and far away including migrants, the homeless, forced relocation, and the dominance of (national) authorities. While some of these issues are clearly visible, others are obscure or too obvious for us to see. And home could well be the same. We actually don’t know what “home” really is, despite the assumptions we commonly have. It is by challenging the notion of “home” that we can start to look afresh at the world.

Kenichi Kondo

Kenichi Kondo 
Curator, Mori Art Museum. Completed a Master’s (art history) at Goldsmiths' College, University of London.
Kondo started to work at Mori Art Museum in 2003. The Museum’s exhibitions he curated/co-curated include “History in the Making: A Retrospective of the Turner Prize” (2008), “Roppongi Crossing 2010” (2010), “Arab Express: The Latest Art from the Arab World” (2012), “Catastrophe and the Power of Art,” (2018), and “Future and the Arts” (2019), as well as solo shows by Meiro Koizumi (2009) and Chikako Yamashiro (2012), and Andy Warhol (2014). Kondo also curated a video art show with young Japanese artists for Sala 1, a non-profit gallery in Rome in 2010 and was Research Fellow at Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum for Contemporary Art - Berlin, National Museums of Berlin (2014 -15).

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