Exhibitions

MAM Collection 009: Ken + Julia Yonetani

2019.2.9 [Sat] - 5.26 [Sun]

MAM Collection 009 will present What the Birds Knew (2012), a sculpture in the form of a glowing green ant made using uranium glass and UV lighting, by Japanese/Australian artist unit Ken + Julia Yonetani (b. 1971 and b. 1972 in Tokyo, respectively).
In Arnhem Land, Northern Australia, the local Aboriginal legend of the “Green Ant Dreaming” holds that if the earth there is dug up, a giant green ant will emerge from underground to destroy the world. Despite this, during the 1970s uranium mining commenced in the region against the wishes of the local indigenous population. What the Birds Knew was created following the artists’ research on mining in the region and the “Green Ant Dreaming” legend, which may also be interpreted as a warning for the future. Taking its title from Kurosawa Akira’s film I Live in Fear [Ikimono no kiroku] (also known as What the Birds Knew, 1955), which depicted a man terrified by the prospect of nuclear attack, Ken + Julia Yonetani’s enormous glowing ant creation can be seen to raise issues concerning nuclear power generation and nuclear weapons, both fueled by uranium.

* The artists would like to pay respect to the Kuwinjku people, their Country and their stories including the Gabo Djang, “Green Ant Dreaming.”

Work

Ken + Julia Yonetani What the Birds Knew (detail)
Ken + Julia Yonetani
What the Birds Knew (detail)
2012
Uranium glass, wire, UV light
3 x 3 x 5.2 m
Gift from Gene and Brian Sherman
Installation view: What the Birds Knew: Ken + Julia Yonetani, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney, 2012
Photo: Zan Wimberley
Ken + Julia Yonetani What the Birds Knew
Ken + Julia Yonetani
What the Birds Knew
2012
Uranium glass, wire, UV light
3 x 3 x 5.2 m
Gift from Gene and Brian Sherman
Installation view: What the Birds Knew: Ken + Julia Yonetani, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney, 2012
Photo: Zan Wimberley
Ken + Julia Yonetani What the Birds Knew (detail)
Ken + Julia Yonetani
What the Birds Knew (detail)
2012
Uranium glass, wire, UV light
3 x 3 x 5.2 m
Gift from Gene and Brian Sherman
Installation view: What the Birds Knew: Ken + Julia Yonetani, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney, 2012
Photo: Zan Wimberley
Ken + Julia Yonetani What the Birds Knew
Ken + Julia Yonetani
What the Birds Knew
2012
Uranium glass, wire, UV light
3 x 3 x 5.2 m
Gift from Gene and Brian Sherman
Installation view: What the Birds Knew: Ken + Julia Yonetani, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney, 2012
Photo: Zan Wimberley

Ken + Julia Yonetani

Ken Yonetani (b. 1971 in Tokyo) and Julia Yonetani (b. 1972 in Tokyo) began working as a unit following the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009, at which Ken was one of the artists representing Australia. Major recent exhibitions for the duo include the Singapore Biennale 2013, The Last Temptation: the Art of Ken + Julia Yonetani at the National Gallery of Australia (Canberra, 2015), and Kenpoku Art (Ibaraki, 2016).

Ken + Julia Yonetani
Ken + Julia Yonetani
General Information
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Notice Regarding Photography and Filming in the Galleries

At the exhibition MAM Collection 009: Ken + Julia Yonetani, you may take photographs/film the artworks under the following conditions.

When taking photographs/filming:

  • Do NOT touch the works of art.
  • Do NOT interfere with other visitors’ enjoyment of the museum.
  • Do NOT use flash lighting.
  • Do NOT use tripods and selfie sticks.
  • Filming must be limited to 1 minute maximum.

When using photographs/videos taken of the exhibition:

  • Photographs/videos may be used for non-commercial purposes only. Photographs/videos may NOT be used for commercial purposes.
  • Photographs/videos may NOT be altered in any ways.
  • The conditions above are licensed under the Creative Commons License. When uploading photographs/videos for blogs or any other photo-sharing services, please make sure to display the photograph/video along with such credits as below.

Example:

Artist’s name and work title: Ken + Julia Yonetani What the Birds Knew
This photograph/video is licensed under “Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivative Works 4.0 International.”

* For details about the Creative Commons License and marks, please see the Creative Commons Japan website: http://creativecommons.jp
* If photographs/videos that include other museum visitors are made public, they may infringe on that person’s right of portrait.


About MAM Collection

The collection of Mori Art Museum which focuses on contemporary art from Japan and elsewhere in Asia currently comprises approximately 400 works. The MAM Collection is the series of diverse, theme-based exhibitions to showcase the collection.
Enjoying contemporary art in a living space-like environment and a dynamic view - this program embodies the Mori Art Museum’s motto of “Art + Life.”

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