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A Message from the Director General

Message from the Director General (for the Start of 2024)

The National Art Center, Tokyo (NACT) offers our most heartfelt wishes for a happy New Year.

Last year, as the COVID-19 pandemic subsided, the NACT saw visitor numbers climb much higher than anticipated, restoring our usual vibrant atmosphere. However, the easing of the pandemic has done little to alleviate the harsh and chaotic global realities we all face, and we are grateful that we are able to continue holding exhibitions despite these troubling circumstances. In 2024, the Center will present a diverse array of contemporary art by creators representing a wide range of generations. Also, this year we are pleased to serve as the venue for exhibitions by 82 artist associations, the first of which opens today.

This year’s first special exhibition is NACT View 04 – Reijiro Wada: FORBIDDEN FRUIT. Visitors will be greeted by a captivating installation incorporating actual fruit, installed in front of the main entrance.

Universal / Remote, a group exhibition conceived during the COVID-19 pandemic, was aptly organized through remote meetings due to the constraints of the time. This ambitious show explores various aspects of our digital society, revealing hidden realities and disrupted worldviews lurking beneath the convenience of remote connectivity without face-to-face engagement.

Meanwhile, our series of compelling solo exhibitions continues. Henri Matisse – Forms in Freedom, initially planned for 2021 and postponed due to the pandemic, will finally open. Visitors are invited to immerse themselves in the vivid world of Matisse’s paper cut-outs, including the magnum opus Flowers and Fruit, which will be shown in Japan for the first time.

We are also delighted to announce an exhibition celebrating the 35th anniversary of the debut of CLAMP, a group of four women who have achieved great popularity in Japan and abroad, primarily for their contributions to manga.

Keiichi Tanaami, known for his prolific and diverse practice spanning video, painting, sculpture, and design, turns 88 this year, and we will have the honor of hosting his first retrospective. Also, we will present a unique exhibition of the work of Ei Arakawa-Nash, a performance artist highly active overseas, in conjunction with multiple painters. Incorporating performance into the venue, the show will emphasize collaboration among disparate creators, transforming the audience’s relationship with painting.

In times of seemingly inescapable polarization and conflict, we must make ever more conscious efforts to sharpen our imaginations, foster awareness of our coexistence with others and the natural environment, and acknowledge differing values. The National Art Center, Tokyo, remains committed to our role as a site that explores and promotes harmonious coexistence, eliciting empathy and insight through a broad range of exhibitions and educational programs.

We sincerely appreciate your kind support as we continue this endeavor in the new year.

Osaka Eriko
Director General
The National Art Center, Tokyo
January 11, 2024