Awaiting the Message of Art Amid the Pandemic


Yasutomo Shimizu
Art critic

Yasutomo Shimizu
Art critic

The 9th Toyama International Contemporary Art Exhibition, 2022 ART/ X/TOYAMA, will be held four years after the 8th exposition. During this time, the whole world has been menaced by the threat of the Covid-19 virus and ongoing pandemic. Humanity is being forced to fight against an invisible enemy with no end in sight.

Our daily lives are inhibited with various activities either canceled or limited. Art is no exception. In 2020, many museums and galleries were closed and almost all exhibitions were canceled.

The effect has been enormous and the impact on art circles immeasurable.
To prevent the spread of infectious diseases, even institutions with a lower risk of exposure closed their doors, and consequently the existence of Art has become unnecessary and insignificant.

Whilst the psychological and physical well-being of many people are affected, I cannot help feel a Japanese cultural poverty through the loss of connection and affinity with Art, which does so much to raise and restore our spirits. The mass media including newspapers and television has picked up on this cultural recession. Unfortunately, however almost all commentary centers on performing arts, concerts, and theater, with hardly any relating to visual arts.

Nevertheless ART/X/TOYAMA is being held this year. In a regional city, Toyama, this type of exhibition, launched with the vision and enthusiasm of local artists, is few and far between. Their strong will, thoughtfulness and unity have supported it so far.

Now is the time to demonstrate how much vigor and fervor artists dedicate to create works. The most important mission of an artist is creating artworks.
Displaying their works and making an appeal to the public is an important role too.

In short, the slogan of this exhibition says it all, ‘Message from Toyama – Contemporary Art’. Dispatching a message doesn’t depend on the place, and it’s crucial to send that message. It is necessary to open without either closing nor completely opening to the world. I feel longing for the re-recognition of the usefulness and importance of art amid the pandemic. Expect an earnest and wholehearted 2022 ART/X/TOYAMA as the force of Art releases to the whole pandemic affected world.