Kanji Yumisashi’s Banquet
November 23(Wed.)2022-March 21(Tue.)2023
The Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum was originally the home of Taro and Toshiko Okamoto, where they both lived and he carried out his creative activities. In 1998, following Taro’s death in 1996, Toshiko opened the space to the public. I want to return ‘everyday life’ to the building one more time, to see what Toshiko and Taro would have seen and prepare a space that will allow us to think back to the people who once lived there.
So said Kanji Yumisashi.
Taro and Toshiko’s lives and thoughts …
This event focus mainly on Toshiko, allowing us to see Taro through her eyes.
It was with this unprecedented, unique viewpoint in mind that Yumisashi entered the Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum.
‘What did Toshiko see and what did she think about?’ ‘What is the significance transmitting a knowledge of art and artists to future generations…?
These are the questions that led Kanji Yumisashi to focus on the theme of the woman who spent half a century at Taro’s side, then following his death, devoted herself to the resurrection of his art. They led him to grasp an aspect of Taro Okamoto’s work that differs from the viewpoint presented by art history, and provided creative motivation that supports the concept for this exhibition.
After receiving the Toshiko Okamoto award in 2018, Yumisashi continued his relationship with this museum through works that deal with Taro Okamoto, starting with the “Taro went to the battle field” exhibition in the museum’s Gallery One in 2019 then followed in 2021 by the “ not one incendiary bomb fell on the street” mural on the garden wall. The current exhibition presents a record of the process by which this promising young talent attempts to discover Taro Okamoto from a novel viewpoint and we feel sure that a new worldview will emerge.
Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum
I did not know about Taro Okamoto in real time but carrying out various research, I have discovered that he was extremely active during the Showa period (1926–1989), he appeared on the television a lot and was generally categorized as being ‘a strange intellectual.’ After his death in 1996 his life partner, Toshiko, insisted that he was nothing like portrayed to be and she set about doing something to rectify this. she had his books republished, founded the museum, established the TARO Award, and searched for his missing masterpiece, the mural, ‘Myth of Tomorrow.’ It was as a result of her efforts that the image of Taro Okamoto that is spoken of today and which I am familiar with, was formed.
After people die, they are eventually forgotten.
Luckily, their artworks remain, but these may be stored in museum collections, the majority of them seldom see the light of day.
However, this is not true of Taro Okamoto.
What does it mean to pass a knowledge of art or artists down to future generations?
I believe that what Toshiko did was extremely important.
As a result I am able to call myself an artist and carry out creative activities.
However, it is difficult to put into words what this means.
That is the reason why I try to imagine and guess what Toshiko saw and thought.
After graduating from the Department of Visual Media, Faculty of Art and Design, Nagoya University of the Arts, he went on to complete a course in Art and Design in the university’s graduate school. Following his mother’s death, he began to focus on the themes of ‘suicide’ and ‘mourning.’ He won the gold award at the Genron Chaos*Lounge New Art School (where he studied in the inaugural class). In 2017 he received the 21st Taro Okamoto Award for Contemporary Art (Toshiko Okamoto Award). In 2019 he was invited to participate in the Aichi Triennale. In 2021 he received an honorable mention at the VOCA Exhibition.