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Greeting from the Director

[2017] At the Beginning of Fiscal 2017

[2016] Greeting

[2014] A View of a View

[2013] On the Tenth Anniversary of the Opening of The Museum of Modern Art, Hayama

[2012] Busy at the Museum Again Today

At the Beginning of Fiscal 2017

        The Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura & Hayama currently carries out its activities as a museum in two buildings, one in Hayama and the other, the Kamakura Annex. The Kamakura Building, which was cherished by many people for many years, was closed at the end of March 2016 and the management of the building was transferred from Kanagawa Prefecture to its new owner, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu. Fortunately, the building which has existed from the opening of the Museum in 1951 remains within the precincts of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu more or less as it was sixty-six years ago and it was designated by Kanagawa Prefecture as a cultural asset in November 2016.
        A year has gone by since we restarted under the current two-building system. Over the past year, we have moved the open-air sculptures formerly located in Kamakura to Hayama and improved the promenade in Hayama so that it will be easier to use wheelchairs. Not only has NOGUCHI Isamui's Kokeshis been transferred from Kamakura to the courtyard at Hayama, but eight other sculptures have also been moved to the outdoor space in Hayama. The Life of a Woman by TANAKA Takashi, which ornamented the wall of the tearoom in the Kamakura Building, has been transferred to the foyer in front of the auditorium in the Hayama Building. The Hayama Building is indeed undergoing significant renovation as it succeeds the legacies of the Kamakura Building. Do enjoy the numerous new artworks such as the sculptures in the garden and the mural.
        In Kamakura, we shall focus on "history," of which the progress the Museum has made as a modern art museum for over half a century composes a part, and in Hayama, on the rich "nature" enwrapping our Museum. While maintaining close ties with the local community in each location, we hope to undertake all the more substantial activities to be shared all over the world.
        Restoration work will also begin in the Kamakura Annex during this fiscal year. It is due to restart in renewed form two years later, in 2019. Please look forward to the renewal of the Kamakura Annex.
        The Museum will be celebrating its 66th anniversary this autumn, in November. We are in the second year of running in two locations. While committing the starting point as a "modern art museum" to our minds, we shall secure a solid foothold, look back at our history to restudy and reanalyze the fruit of our activities, and proceed towards the future.

April 2017
MIZUSAWA Tsutomu, Director



        To mark the beginning of fiscal 2016, I would like to mention a few words about the activities undertaken at our Museum.
        Our activities at the Kamakura Building of The Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura & Hayama ended on March 31, 2016, and we are now doing the final clearing up and move. We are very sorry that the Kamakura Building, which, ever since its opening on November 11, 1951, bore part of the cultural activities as the representative of "Kamakura," will no longer be the base of our activities.
        We confirmed the "starting point" of our activities in the Kamakura Building by holding a year-long exhibition entitled All Begun in Kamakura 1951-2016, which took place at the Kamakura Building in three sessions throughout fiscal 2015. We had the pleasure of being visited by more than 130,000 people. These visitors came not only to recollect the past. The next generation showed a great deal of interest and there were young people who visited the Kamakura Building scores of times, which is a sign of hope. Without such ardent support, no doubt we would not have been able to get the preservation of the Kamakura Building, though partly (the old wing completed in 1951), going.
        We hope to move forward while recalling the memories at the Kamakura Building, inscribing them on our hearts, and feeling them vividly from day to day. NOGUCHI Isamu's Kokeshis and other open-air sculptures that were long cherished by everyone in the Kamakura Building will be transferred mainly to the Hayama Building. Following their relocation, we shall concentrate on educational and promotional events aiming to blend more closely together with the spirit of the Kamakura Building.
        Of course, we will put all our efforts into full-scale retrospectives verifying modern Japanese art such as the HARADA Naojiro Exhibition, but we will also make more efforts to promote the display of our own collection, which has hitherto been presented mainly in Kamakura. In the summer, the entire building in Hayama will be used for the first individual exhibition in Japan of the Quay Brothers, master puppet animators who have become a contemporary legend. The twin artists themselves are scheduled to come to Hayama. In Praise of Sunlight, an exhibition featuring the two artists, TANIKAWA Koichi and MIYASAKO Chizuru, will be held in the autumn, a season when Hayama is blessed with light. This should be an exhibition befitting to the environment in Hayama, which is quite different from the deep shades in Kamakura. We also plan to look back on the period when the Kamakura Building began as a museum by shedding light on the 1950s.
        Please look forward to the activities we will be undertaking in fiscal 2016.

April 2016
MIZUSAWA Tsutomu, Director


A View of a View

        Whenever I travel somewhere and visit a museum or art gallery there, I come across unexpected discoveries and, at times, I am given joy or consolation.
        After the Great East Japan Earthquake of 11 March 2011, I visited the city of Rikuzentakata in Iwate Prefecture twice. Not only things and people but the scenes produced as a result of the accumulation of history and woven by those things and people were destroyed in a tsunami of an unprecedented scale. I had been there just once before this city was hit by the tsunami, but the destruction was so lurid that my memory of the view then was dissolved and utterly faded.
        Restoration is probably not a return to the former state but the development of another scene in that location. The question is to what extent the people living there can share the vision of the "scene" including the "restored view." The "restored view" forms a set with the memories of the people who have been living there and unless it is linked to the people living the present and further on to the future lives, it cannot become a view of that location nor emerge amidst torment.
        As I write this, it is brought home to me anew how powerless I am.
        On my way back from my second visit to Rikuzentakata, in October 2011, I stopped by at the Yorozu Tetsugoro Memorial Museum of Art in Tsuchizawa. The Yorozu family's storehouse, which had been relocated close to the museum, had been hit by the earthquake and part of the wall had come off. Undaunted by this catastrophe, the people of Tsuchizawa had vigorously organized "Machikado Bijutsukan 2011 - Art@Tsuchizawa," in which art was shown on street corners here and there in the town. One of the venues was an old pharmacy. It was no longer in business, but a little oil landscape painted by HATAKEYAMA Saburo (1903-1933), an artist from Rikuzentakata, in the early Showa period was hanging on the wall. It was just the picture of where I had been standing just before coming there, though everything had gone except for part of the platform. The town center where Rikuzentakata Station stood was portrayed freshly as a scene viewed from a hill on the mountain side in brushwork beating a comfortable rhythm. It was through that painting that I learnt for the first time that paddy fields spread out there eighty or so years ago at the beginning of the Showa period.
        Last year, at Iwate Museum of Art, I saw Woman atop a Rock (1978), a statue by YANAGIHARA Yoshitatsu (1910-2004), which used to stand in front of the Civic Sports and Culture Center just behind the neighboring Rikuzentakata City Museum. The statue was swept away together with its huge rock pedestal by the tsunami. Having been severed at the ankles and split in several parts, this bronze statue was restored, connected to two bolt "legs," and standing again.
        Will these works be shown in Rikuzentakata again one day?
        At the moment, no one can say when that day will come. However, when I imagine the view of those works on display, it seems as if tiny lights are being lit up amidst an expanse of vast ruins.
        We now seem to be losing substantial relations with nature and culture. The word "museum" derives from the Greek word "Mousa." Muse is the goddess of art and literature. According to the ancient Greek poet Hesiodos, there are considered to have been nine Muses born to Zeus and Mnemosyne. They are often referred to in the plural form "Mousai" in Greek.
        It appears very symbolic that the mother's name seems to "linger" as if echoing in the sound "Mousa." "Mnemosyne" is the goddess in which "memory" is deified. The "memory" of a "memory." They resound to each other. Without such succession, the museum may never have come into being.
        It is impossible to recover everything that has been lost. However, we can at least keep memory of the fact of the "loss." A new "view" that retains the lost "view." A "view" of a "view." Such views ripple and spread in numerous circles. Isn’t the “museum” indeed fit to be the starting point or the first stone in those ripples?
        As I recall that in 1951, at a time when Japan was trying to recover from the devastation following the defeat in World War II, our museum appeared in the precincts of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu in Kamakura as the first public modern art museum in Japan, I cannot help thinking of the potential of linking nature and culture profoundly once more and that starting point.

April 2014
MIZUSAWA Tsutomu, Director


On the Tenth Anniversary of the Opening of The Museum of Modern Art, Hayama

        It was on October 11, 2003 that the third building of our museum opened in Hayama, a scenic location facing Isshiki Beach. The opening day was blessed with beautiful crisp autumn weather and many well-wishers. I recall it vividly as if it were only yesterday. Yet, this year, in 2013, we are already celebrating its tenth anniversary.
        There has probably never been a completely peaceful period in any age.
        Looking extensively around the world, some region or other has always been in the midst of the maelstrom of war. Among the human beings, be it on the level of friends or nations, confrontations of all degrees have continued to arise. Ivan Illich (1926-2002), a great thinker who continuously criticized the limits of contemporary civilization, once pointed out that peace and war are not concepts of time but of space. The meaning of what Illich indicated has never been sensed so poignantly as during the past decade. One has to say, not “There were peaceful times,” but “There were peaceful places.”
         Bearing the ravages of war in mind, however peaceful areas other than that may have been, to those involved in the turmoil of war, it would have been no other than a turbulent era. It has always been the viewpoint of the authority’s side that has argued vehemently that peace prevails. The clearly sycophantic Latin expressions “Pax Romana” and “Pax Americana” demonstrate this precisely. Peace has always been longed for by people in weak positions in an obscure corner of the earth.
        The past decade was also a period of turbulence.
        Following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, via the dissolution of the Soviet Union, for just a little while, the annulment of ideological confrontation made us imagine a fresh possibility of peaceful coexistence. However, the September 11 terror attacks in the U.S. in 2001 brought to light the fact that highly advanced capitalism and an information-oriented society were accelerating the social gap increasingly on a global scale. Stefan Zweig (1881-1942), a fin-de-siècle Viennese writer, was banished by the Nazis and driven to despair, committed suicide in Rio de Janeiro together with his young wife. The World of Yesterday, a masterpiece of reminiscent literature he finished writing in 1940, exquisitely conveys the splendor and fall of the Habsburg Empire. In it, he recalls fondly but with pain of the loss how, just before the First World War, for example, the citizens of Salzburg and Munich could come and go across the border freely to enjoy cheaper and tastier beer or wine without anyone being aware of the border.
        Thanks to the dramatic advance of communication technology, we can correspond instantaneously, for example, with someone in Lagos, Nigeria sitting in Japan in the Far East. Yet, in the meantime, division and disparity are accelerating all the more. The demolition of cultural assets in the Republic of Mali amidst the confusion of a military coup is fresh in our memory. It was the most heartbreaking cultural vandalism in the past few years. Being forced to stop for inspection over and over again as one goes up north towards the Sahara shows how awkward the world is today.
        Why is an art museum necessary in such times?
         The answer may be surprisingly easy. It is a place where one can encounter fine examples of the plastic arts freely without having to go through (or having slipped through) inspection and connect them to the area or generation. It has the potential of infinitely transcending restrictions of time and space. Sustainability is an indispensable condition for that. We must not lose to the despair of loss.
         We are aware that the situation of our museum, which has hitherto been managed as three museums, Kamakura, Kamakura Annex, and Hayama, is obscure and difficult. Keeping that in mind, we are prepared to proceed with our eyes on the future. We would be most grateful for your kind understanding and support to enable our modest activities to be continued uninterruptedly in the next decade and the decades to follow.

July 2013
MIZUSAWA Tsutomu, Director


Busy at the Museum Again Today

        It was more than ten years ago, when the museum in Hayama still had not opened. I was working at The Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura (the building which is now referred to as the Kamakura building), which stands within the precincts of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, the shrine in Kamakura. It was just when the museum had reached the 50th anniversary of its opening. To commemorate the anniversary, all the curators got together to publish a book entitled Chiisana Hako [A Small Box] from Kyuryudo. I still leaf through it from time to time. It portrays "the bygone days" of the modern museum in Kamakura and is easy to read.
        As I was still in my forties, there must have been remains of youthful ardor. I got slightly carried away and wrote the following copy for the advertisement to appear on the slipcover of the book.

    Busy at the museum again today!! The official name is The Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura. But everyone calls it "Kamakura Kinbi" with affection. It stands within Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, the shrine in Kamakura. It was the first full-fledged modern art museum in Japan. It was designed by that genius architect SAKAKURA Junzo. However, the reality of a museum built in the midst of postwar rehabilitation is harsh. One after another problem comes up. The legendary director's roars echo through the galleries as the staff run about. The blue of the summer sky looked up at from the patio is soring to the eyes. The snow that settles on NOGUCHI Isamu's Kokeshis is soft. This is an account of the striving efforts of the first modern art museum in Japan that rose from the confusion after the war and continues to toil.

        Ten years went by and last year, the museum in Kamakura celebrated the 60th anniversary of its opening. I found a picture taken when the museum first opened, which I had not seen for a long time, and gazed at it. It was taken in October 1951, just before the completion. The gravel piled on both sides shows that the ditch surrounding the building has not yet been finished.

The Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura. Taken around October 1951, just before its completion. Photograph by MURASAWA Fumio

The Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura. Taken around October 1951, just before its completion. Photograph by MURASAWA Fumio

        How neat and beautiful the building is! I recall how a senior curator who knows those days told me that when he came to the museum in Kamakura for the first time soon after its opening, it was so radiant that he could not look straight at it. To think that a building of such brilliance emerged at a time of devastation after the war and when Japan was under occupation?tears come to my eyes at the thought of such a miracle.

The Museum of Modern Art, Hayama. Taken in February 2008, five years after its completion. Photograph by UENO Norihiro

The Museum of Modern Art, Hayama. Taken in February 2008, five years after its completion. Photograph by UENO Norihiro

        The museum in Hayama was completed near the Isshiki Beach in 2003. The environment here is also fantastic. This photograph was taken in February, when the air in Hayama becomes clearest. Beyond the courtyard, you can see the sun setting in Sagami Bay. Unlike Kamakura, the weather in Hayama is that of a peninsular. I have been experiencing this personally on a daily basis ever since I moved to Horiuchi, Hayama in 2000. In February, though the sunlight is mild, the wind is strong so that it feels quite chilly. It is cold. Kamakura is chilly, too, but it is somewhat humid, there is not so much wind, and there are sunny spots here and there.

NAITO Rei, <i>Grace</i>, 2009 (1999-). Taken in March 2010 during the display at Kamakura

NAITO Rei, Grace, 2009 (1999-). Taken in March 2010 during the display at Kamakura

        This is a picture I took towards the end of the exhibition Naito Rei: Tout animal est dans le monde comme de l'eau a l'interieur de l'eau, which took place at Kamakura (2009-2010). A "sunny spot" in Kamakura gives light to Naito's skipping rope-like form of beads hung there. The way the sun lingers there could not possibly be found on the Isshiki Beach in Hayama around the same time of the year, in March. Perhaps I could say that the bottom of the sky seems to have fallen out in Hayama.
        Approximately one year after I took this picture, "3/11" occurred. Fortunately, there was no damage to the people, works, and buildings at our museum. However, we were obliged to alter our original plans. Compared to the disaster-stricken areas, the aftermath was trifling. Even so, "losses" of this kind gave me an opportunity to ask myself what is truly precious. However, there are times when I am suddenly overcome by a feeling that something has been totally uprooted and my thought process ceases. Whether by instinct, as if to compensate, I tried to keep my daily routine busy and hurried. Otherwise, I would feel restless.
        And even today, we continue to be busy at the museum. Having said so, however hectic it may be in the backyard, we do all we can to maintain serenity in the galleries so that you can concentrate on appreciating the works in contemplation. We hope that you will enjoy the contrasting museums in Kamakura and Hayama.
        In order to confirm our starting point, the fiscal year of 2012 begins with an exhibition of the photographer ISHIMOTO Yasuhiro's representative series of the 1950s, Katsura, at Kamakura, an exhibition of works by SUDA Kunitaro, a yoga [Western-style painting] artist regarded the ultimate basis of modern Japanese art, at Hayama, and an exhibition of works by the dyeing artist YUNOKI Samiro at the Kamakura Annex. In addition to new works by Yunoki, the main focus here are the works he contributed to texts by MURAYAMA Ado, a writer of children’s stories. Ado is the son of MURAYAMA Tomoyoshi and takes over from his father, whose works were shown at Hayama in the previous fiscal year.
        After that, at Hayama, there will be a major retrospective to commemorate the centennial of the birth of MATSUMOTO Shunsuke, a leading yoga artist of the early Showa period, and an exhibition of modern yoga concerning two portraits of NISHI Amane, which are master examples of yoga dating from the early Meiji period. At Kamakura, there will be an exhibition featuring Jikken K?b? [Experimental Workshop], which was founded exactly the same year as the opening of our museum. At the Kamakura Annex, following the Yunoki Samiro Exhibition, we shall reexamine the starting point of our museum activities. There will be an exhibition of works from the museum collection selected from the point of view of “the medieval city of Kamakura,” the first comprehensive retrospective of works by ONO Motoe, an extraordinary artist who died young, and Departure from the War, which introduces masterpieces dating from the postwar period in our museum collection to complement the Jikken K?b? exhibition at Kamakura. Regarding works from our own collection, there will also be an exhibition of a unique print collection assembled by KITANI Makoto entitled Namazu-e and Baudelaire at Kamakura. In autumn, the quintessence of modern French art will be displayed at Kamakura with focus on master prints by Chagall and Matisse. We have not forgotten a contemporary viewpoint either. Beads in Africa looks at the life and contemporariness of African beads, which continue to thrive in the Africans' life today. The exhibition at Hayama will be the first occasion for the collection belonging to the National Museum of Ethnology in Osaka to be shown collectively in public. KUWAYAMA Tadaaki, who is known worldwide as a leading artist in the art scene today, is going to turn the entire museum at Hayama into a single work. Including his latest works, the exhibition of works by EGUCHI Shu at Kamakura is sure to enable us to reconfirm the eminence of expression postwar wooden sculpture has reached.
        We hope you will enjoy them all.

April 2012
MIZUSAWA Tsutomu, Director