Watanabe Atsushi (I’m here project)
- Born 1978 in Kanagawa.
- Based in Kanagawa.
Watanabe Atsushi is an artist whose practice highlights issues and people that may be treated as taboo or shameful by society, working through collaborations with people whose lives are affected. He withdrew from society after graduating from graduate school at Tokyo University of the Arts in 2009, staying shut up at home for a period that eventually stretched into a third year. Using that personal experience as a starting point, he now leads the “Iʼm here project” as a platform for creating art in collaboration with people who find it difficult to live in society or who are lonely or isolated. This project is ongoing, making presentations at venues such as R16 studio in Kanagawa Prefecture, TURN FES 6 at Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, and the Setouchi Triennale 2022, raising issues for greater social awareness. Watanabe has a studio in Yokohama, and received the Yokohama Culture Award (Culture and Art Encouragement Prize) in 2020.
Your Moon (2021) is a giant lightbox made up of a myriad of photos of the moon with no consistency in the way that they shine. The photos of the moon that make up this work were taken using smartphone spyglass attachments received from Watanabe by anonymous people the artist recruited based on eligibility criteria that included feeling isolated immediately after the state of emergency was declared in April 2020. People of various backgrounds looked up at the same moon–people who couldnʼt go outside because of the COVID-19 pandemic, those in sustained isolation, such as people who had withdrawn from society or people with physical disabilities, single mothers, and bereaved family members of people who committed suicide. In contrast, The Lights of the Absentees (2021), with spherical lights hanging in the same space, is said to be operated by participants located somewhere far away. This series of projects, entitled The Day We Saw the Same Moon, creates a gentle solidarity based on loneliness through thinking about oneʼs own loneliness and the isolation of others, and imagining them. The message “Iʼm Here,” uttered now, half a century after On Kawaraʼs “I Am Still Alive,” is the urgent voice of all people dealing with loneliness, and should resonate as an expression of solidarity for living.
- Selected Works & Awards
- The Day We Saw the Same Moon, R16 studio, Kanagawa, Japan
- Monument of Recovery, BankART SILK, Kanagawa, Japan
- Looking for Another Family, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Seoul, South Korea
- Yokohama Culture Awardʼs Culture and Art Encouragement Prize
- 10:00－18:00 (20:00 on Fridays)
*Last admission 30 min before closing time
- Mondays (except for public holidays)
- Venue / Access
- Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art Gallery (8F)
- 3 minutes on foot from Sakae Station on the Higashiyama Subway Line or Meijo Subway Line.
- 3 minutes on foot from Sakae-Machi Station on the Meitetsu Seto Line.