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The Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura opened as the first public museum of modern art in Japan in 1951. Ever since, it has been in constant pursuit of the ideal function of an art museum and played a leading role in this country. We do our best to take a broad view of the era and the world, grasp the needs of the changing society, cherish ties with the local community to which the Museum belongs, find present-day subjects in history, and be sure that the originality and the independence of the Museum do not get lost. With such principles in mind, we have been accumulating experience and exploring further activities.
In 2003, the museum has renamed to The Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura & Hayama as our third building has opened in Hayama. From April 2016, the museum's activities are integrated into two buildings known as The Museum of Modern Art, Hayama and the Kamakura Annex. Each location organizes 4 or 5 exhibitions a year. Besides organizing numerous exhibitions, we also work hard to plan a variety of activity programs for the public to enjoy the Museum in diverse ways. Our aim is to make the Museum a place for everyone to enjoy, feel comfortable, and discover something unexpected.
Greeting from the Director
Coming in to Moor
Recently I've started to feel affectionately and somewhat nostalgically towards the Japanese word moyau, which means to moor or tether a boat. Generally this is probably most commonly used in the context of the moyai-musubi or bowline knot, often used on ships.
A variety of artists have captured the spectacle of mooring posts lined up in rows by the waterfront, a common sight in cities on the water such as Venice and Edo, the pre-twentieth century name for Tokyo. A city given life and vitality by the sea stretching out before it, Edo was one of the most well prefected cities to have existed. Yet the Meiji Restration of 1868 saw the city into what is functionally speaking an inland city, and its name changed to Tokyo.
Thus the lagoon-like charm vanished, the dock area was built up on, and land transportation became the priority. Visiting Lagos in Nigeria and Dhaka in Bangladesh, we understand for the first time what a true waterfront city should look like.
The Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura & Hayama came into existence in 1951 with the Kamakura building beside one of the ponds in the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, and from 2003, its main building had been the Hayama museum, which faces out across the Sagami Bay. In many ways, we rather resemble a boat moored to the shore.
One of the key things about bowline knots is that, as well as holding firm, they can also be undone easily when the time comes. The sea of art is limitlessly wide, and not tied to any one of particular place.
In our exhibitions this year, as well as linking ourselves with Japanese artists who are exploring art in its contemporary incarnations, we also hope, together with artists from Poland and Finland who have weathered trying histories, to untie existing knots in order to form new ones.
"MULPA: Museum UnLearning Program for All", our collaborative project with the Kanagawa International Foundation and other institutions, enters its third year. As well as aiming to strengthen bonds between the museums and regional societies, the project is also an experiment into untying, and tying afresh.
What kind of connections will this knotting and unknotting lead to? We hope you will join us in finding out.
MIZUSAWA Tsutomu, Director