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Toranomon Hills,
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THINK

The Role of Art

2024.03.14

I have always believed that art holds vast potential,
but I feel that it is often suppressed. I think its true role is not fully realized.

The greatest strength of art lies in its ability to adopt a temporary stance.

Buildings, once erected, are not easily demolished. But art can be moved and removed.
It has the power to temporarily alter the aura of a place and then vanish.
Perhaps, it has the potential to impact people more than leaving a lasting impression.
It can control negative thoughts like boredom and monotony.

At the Matsumoto Architecture Art Festival, mentioned in Think 1, art is plotted onto notable buildings throughout the city (including vacant houses and ruins, which we refer to as notable buildings).
This festival aims to inject new value into buildings that have become unfamiliar to people, as art is displayed for approximately one month.
Of course, this effect has also been observed in spaces designated as cultural heritage sites or modern architectural structures, not limited to vacant houses or ruins.


The Matsumoto Architecture+Art Festival 2024 by Takashi Nakajima.


The Matsumoto Architecture+Art Festival 2024 by Kengo Kito.

I believe this is perhaps the greatest role of art.

There is a pair of artists, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, who are known for wrapping iconic buildings and structures that symbolize historic cities in fabric.
These buildings, which have been beloved and observed by citizens for centuries, undergo a temporary transformation into entirely different entities.


From 21_21 Design Sight.

This is a piece where they wrapped the Arc de Triomphe in Paris with fabric, and the impact is immense. It’s fascinating and beautiful.
The shift in consciousness and the new possibilities that even just a temporary presence of this art brings to the city are infinite.
The more layered with history a place is, like Paris, the greater its potential as a receptor.
This art implants that potential and then disappears.
If it were to remain forever, it might have the opposite effect.

Considering these points, I strongly believe that we should recognize and promote the role of art in urban regeneration and city planning from the ground up.

In this vein, the third installment of the “Matsumoto Architecture+Art Festival 2024 ANNEX” is currently underway, running until March 24th.

This time, instead of a roaming exhibition, it’s a special edition where almost all the art is displayed in the soon-to-be-demolished former Matsumoto City Museum of Art, scheduled for demolition starting from spring.
That’s why it’s named ANNEX. It’s a final update of the memory of the iconic building before its demise, an act to etch the aura of the place into people’s hearts.
This, too, is one of the roles that art can play.

We encourage everyone to visit Matsumoto if possible.

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