Japan chooses art graduate for Venice Biennale

A graduate from Edinburgh College of Art will represent Japan at one of the world’s most important visual arts events next month.

Takahiro Iwasaki has been chosen to stage a solo show at the Venice Biennale, the world’s biggest contemporary art fair.

Iwasaki, who graduated in 2005, will show the work entitled Turned Upside Down, It’s a Forest at the Japan Pavilion.

I wanted the visitors to observe Itsukushima Shrine in Hiroshima, which offers a different view depending on the tides. By creating the different perspectives of looking upward and looking downward, I hope to create a multifaceted spatial experience.

Takahiro Iwasaki

The show runs for the duration of the Biennale, from May 13 to November 26.

Everyday objects

Since graduating from the MFA programme Art, Space & Nature, Takahiro has been based in his native Hiroshima.

Iwasaki often uses everyday objects as materials for his works. These include items that are regarded as garbage, such as dust, cloth and hair. By overlaying another image onto the materials to create a figurative representation, he gives meaning to things that are seemingly chaotic.

For example, he has made a stack of dust cloths look like mountains and books appear like buildings. He creates cranes and steel towers from the threads pulled out from dust cloths.

Image of the artist Takahiro Iwasaki
Takahiro Iwasaki © Kawasaki Museum

International work

After completing his MFA at Edinburgh College of Art, he went on to a PhD in Art at Hiroshima City University.

Iwasaki has exhibited at the Asia society in New York, 2015, and has held solo exhibitions at the Kurobe City Art Museum and the Oyama City Art Museum in the same year. Group shows include the 10th Lyon Biennale (2009), Yokohama Triennale (2011) and the 2013 Asian Art Biennale in Taiwan.

University at Venice

Iwasaki is one to two ECA alumni at this year’s Venice Biennale. Rachel Maclean, who graduated in 2009, will represent Scotland as part of Scotland + Venice. Her work, Spite Your Face, is commissioned and curated by Alchemy Film & Arts in partnership with Talbot Rice Gallery and the University of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh College of Art is represented elsewhere in the Venice Biennale 2017. Tessa Giblin, director of Talbot Rice Gallery, is the Comissioner and Curator of Ireland at Venice, exhibiting the work of artist Jesse Jones.

Related links

The Japan Foundation

The Venice Biennale

Scotland + Venice

Art, Space & Nature