ARTIST FILE2011 The NACT Annual Show of Contemporary Art


The ARTIST FILE exhibition organized by the National Art Center, Tokyo is an annual exhibition that selectively presents a group of artists who are doing some of the most remarkable new work inside or outside in Japan. This year's exhibition, the fourth in the series, features an international lineup of eight artists from Japan and overseas.

The forms of the art on disply are diverse, including painting, photography, ceramics, video, and installation, and the artists are concerned with a variety of different issues. In spite of these differences, the artists creat artworks with unique sensibilities and ways of understanding that sensitively reflect the characteristics of the contemporary society in which we live. They convey what might be called the reality of the times in divers forms of expresson. ARTIST FILE2011 will provide an excellent opportunity to experience rich and stimulating artistic expressions peculiar to an age saturated with diverse media.

Dates March 16 (Wed.) - June 6 (Mon.), 2011
Closed on Tuesdays(except for May 3)
Museum hours 10:00 - 18:00
(Fridays 10:00 - 20:00) Last admission: 30 minutes before closing
Venue The National Art Center, Tokyo, Special Exhibition Gallery 2E
7-22-2 Roppongi Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Organized by The National Art Center, Tokyo
General 1,000yen (Adults), 500yen (College Students)
Advance 800yen (Adults), 300yen (College Students)
Group 800yen (Adults), 300yen (College Students)
  • Admission is free for high school students and those under 18.
  • Admission is free for those with physical disability certificates and one accompanying person.
  • Free admission on March 26(Sat.) in conjunction with "Roppongi Art Night 2011"
  • Group tickets are applicable to 20 or more people and available only at the venue.
  • Group rates will apply to those with tickets or ticket stubs of special exhibitions held concurrently at The National Art Center,Tokyo, Suntory Museum of Art and Mori Art Museum.
  • General and advance tickets may also be purchased through Ticket Pia (P-code: 564-451) and Lawson Ticket (L-code: 34478)
  • The Advance tickets can be available until March 15(Tue.), but at the venue until March 14(Mon.).

Features of the Exhibition

The ARTIST FILE exhibition

One of the missions of the National Art Center, Tokyo is to introduce new forms of expression created by artists living in the present day. The ARTIST FILE exhibition was inaugurated in 2008 to fulfill this purpose.
The artists were not selected to suit a particular theme. They were chosen from a group of candidates recomended on the basis of ongoing field work done by the curatorial staff of the National Art Center, Tokyo as the artists who would be the most exciting and relevant to introduce at this time. As a result, there is great diversity in the issues that they deal with, their modes of expression, and the mediums that they choose. Viewers are left free to discover the realities in these works to which they can relate.

Diverse mediums, diverse kinds of expression

From the first exhibition of 2008 through the current one, 32 artists have participated in this project. Their mediums have ranged from painting and sculpture to photography, installation, and the new mediums like video and film. The artists represent a variety of countries of origin, ages, and artistic concerns. The varied artworks presented in each exhibition have provided a compressed view of the current art situation.

International lineup and content

The greatest difference between the three previous ARTIST FILE exhibitions and this year's show is that we are inviting several overseas artists. Since the 1990s, the waves of grobalization have been washing over contemporary art. The world of art has been tremendously stimulated by new cultural creation as well as various negative phenomena that have emerged from this increased crossing of national boundaries, and there are more and more artists who are actually working beyond such boundaries. As a result, this year's ARTIST FILE exhibition reflects the trends of recent years even more clearly than before.

Considered introduction of individual artists

ARTIST FILE is structured as a group of small solo exhibitions within the exhibition space so that visitors can closely examine the work of each artist. The catalogue also takes the form of a set of separate booklets, one for each artist. As can be understood from this exhibition structure and catalogue editorial policy, an important aim of ARTIST FILE is to fully present the individual qualities of each artist and provide sufficient documentation. A documentary report on the exhibition will be published while it is still up.

Synchronization of the exhibition with collection and presentation of documentation on individual artists.

The name ARTIST FILE refers to more than the general concept of the exhibition. The process of filing documents on the participating artists and continuing and developing this documentation, which takes place when organizing these exhibitions, is an important part of carrying out of the function of the National Art Center, Tokyo. The ARTIST FILE exhibition is a project unique to the National Art Center, Tokyo that joins the exhibition of artworks and the collection and presentation of information and documentation.


Kristin BAKER(b.1975-)
Born in Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A. Lives and works in New York

Kristin Baker has been noted for her original technique, boldly applying acrylic paint on hard supports such as PVC or acrylic panels with tools like squeegees and palette knives and her choice of moments in auto races or accidents that express speed and dynamism as subjects. Her paintings are frozen in a subtle balance between ambiguous elements - figure and abstraction, geometric and organic forms, straight and curved lines, and static and dynamic conditions. They overwhelm the viewer with their large scale and vivid, eye-opening colors. In this exhibition, Baker plans to show seven works ranging from a painting completed in 2001 to her most recent work.

SONG Tao (b. 1979-) Born in Shanghai, China / Lives and works in ShanghaiJI Weiyu (b. 1980-) Born in Shanghai, / China Lives and works in Shanghai

BIRDHEAD is an artist’s duo, composed of Song Tao and Ji Weiyu, that was organized in 2004. They began working seriously in 2005 and have participated in various exhibitions in China. In 2007, they published a book on their art, XIN CUN BIRDHEAD 2006. BIRDHEAD uses simple cameras to photograph the everyday life of Shanghai, which has rapidly been transformed into a great modern city since the reform and opening up policy of the 1980s. They have won praise for their straightforward presentation of current conditions in China, showing the chaotic energy of the city and the disorientation and loneliness of young people living there. In recent years, they have begun showing in the West as well as China.

Tara DONOVAN (b.1969-)
Born in New York City, U.S.A. Lives and works in New York

Tara Donovan is known for her installations and three-dimensional works made of huge quantities of familiar, ordinary materials such as plastic cups, toothpicks, glass, tar paper, etc. She is one of the most celebrated artists in America today. By assembling large amounts of a single material and treating it accordingto a certain rule, she reveals features hidden in the material in unexpected ways. Her works suggest a variety of natural phenomena and have a sublime, poetic beauty. In this exhibition, which will be Donovan’s first opportunity to show in Asia, she will present two large-scale installations using Mylar tape and plastic straws.

IWAKUMA Rikiya (b.1969-)
Born in Tokyo Lives and works in Tokyo

Iwakuma Rikiya’s paintings are characterized by highly permeable thin polyester cloth stretched on a wooden frame. Vague forms appear on semi-transparent expanses of mediums like oil and acrylic paint, latex, and poppy oil soaked into the glossy polyester membrane. As motifs he chooses primal images such as animals and trees and, in recent years, mountain landscapes that are reminiscent of traditional Asian landscape paintings. Iwakuma’s painting practice over the last ten years has been highly regarded as an effective exploration of the sources of painting.

KITO Kengo(b.1977-)
Lives and works in Berlin, Germany

Kito Kengo represents the new generation of Japanese contemporary artists who have emerged since 2000. In recent years, he has begun working internationally. He has employed a variety of materials in his two- and three- dimensional works and installations, but he has consistently stuck to familiar, everyday items such as hula hoops, inner tubes, umbrellas, electric fans, and cutouts from magazines. Kito eliminates spiritual and narrative elements of the kind that have been closely linked to art in the past, creating an infinite space without depth or center. This space is a kind of parallel world filled with the small joys of everyday life that proliferate and become dominant. For this exhibition, he will be making a large installation with a huge number of scarves.

MATSUE Taiji(b.1963-)
Born in Tokyo Lives and works in Tokyo

Matsue Taiji has photographed many parts of the surface of the Earth - deserts, mountains, hills, and cities . from a unique point of view. His bird’s eye views of landscapes, photographed so that the entire pictorial surface is uniform and clearly focused, numb the viewer’s sense of perspective and scale. The viewer is invited into an extraordinary world that differs from real space, a place where even time does not seem to exist.

Bjorn MELHUS (b.1966-)
Born in Kirchheim/Teck, Germany Lives and works in Berlin

Bjorn Melhus is an internationally active artist and one of the best-known video artists in Europe today. Melhus focuses on memories of sounds and images lodged in the subconscious mind. Popular American television programs and Hollywood movies, which have been dominant forms of popular culture throughout the world, are particularly important sources of ideas for his work. His humorous video works, in which he appears, encourage viewers to rethink the relationship between media and society and the influence of media on individuals. In this exhibition, he is presenting a large-scale video installation with voices recorded from horror movies.

NAKAIGAWA Yuki (b.1960-)
Born in Ibaraki Lives and works in Ibaraki

Nakaigawa Yuki has a studio on the side of Mt. Tsukuba where she makes clay objects with warm, organic qualities inspired by nature. Many of her works, which are constructed with a coiling technique and take several months to make, are quite large. They have a strong sense of presence and can be placed in the context of site-specific installations in contemporary art. Since the beginning of her career, she has been acclaimed as a new and progressive woman ceramic artist. Later she participated in the annual “Amabiki 2011,” a unique outdoor sculpture exhibition organized by artists, and continued working and showing ambitiously. She represents the next generation of Japanese ceramics and is an important artist who pursues the possibilities of ceramics in contemporary art.

Related Events

Artist Talks

3/19 (Sat.) 14:00-15:00 BIRDHEAD[Cancel]
3/26 (Sat.) 19:00-20:30 KITO Kengo, MATSUE Taiji[Cancel]
4/16 (Sat.) 14:00-15:00 IWAKUMA Rikiya
Guest: Ponchan Ningyo (ventriloquist) will tell a story illustrated with picture cards.

Artist Talk and Film

3/21(Mon.) Bjorn MELHUS[Cancel]

Artist Workshop

5/7 (Sat.) NAKAIGAWA Yuki

*Times and content of events are subject to change.
For details and information on other events, please visit the website:


TEL:Hello Dial 03-5777-8600