Report on the Members' Gathering
An evening of discussion with an artist
A double taste of "Sensing Nature," with a special talk between Shinoda Taro and Kataoka Mami
The Members' Gathering, a special event for the members of the Mori Art Museum's MAMC membership program was held on the evening of August 25 at the Roppongi Hills Club. With a special talk given by exhibition artist Shinoda Taro and museum chief curator Katoaka Mami, visitors enjoyed a lively summer evening of discussion and exchange.
The venue was the Roppongi Hills Club - the Star Bar, to be precise - and stars were twinkling on the ceiling. The similarity with Shinoda's artwork, Ginga (milky way) did not go unnoticed by the members.
Appropriate to a Roppongi evening, the many members who attended came dressed up in fashion that might be described as "casual chic." Some had come with their partners, their families or friends. Some had got a group of friends together especially for the occasion. Some were experiencing their first MAMC event, while others could be seen greeting friends made at previous events. With drinks in hand, they stood here and there, chatting amiably.
Museum director Nanjo Fumio kicked off proceedings with a short greeting.
This evening, be sure to say hello to people who you don't know, and try to get to know them. The talk by Shinoda should provide lots of topics for discussion. Enjoy yourselves!
Next was a toast by the museum chairperson, Mori Yoshiko.
It would be wonderful if you could all use this opportunity to share information about art events and happenings with each other. We hope this becomes a catalyst for you all to attend even more art events and to gradually get know each other as a kind of community of art fans.
And as soon as the greetings were concluded, sure enough, little sparks of conversation flared up throughout the venue
Several well-known art world personalities were in attendance as special guests - editor, creative director and Kyoto University of Art and Design professor Goto Shigeo and collector Miyatsu Daisuke - and rings of conversation quickly formed around each of them.
In between conversations, the members enjoyed the buffet, which offered a wide variety of mostly Italian cuisine.
Soon enough, Shinoda and Kataoka's talk began.
Having originally studied gardening and having worked as a gardener himself, Shinoda expounded on his own philosophy of a cycle existing between the body (microcosmos) and the universe (macrocosmos) and how he goes about making artworks that reflect such thoughts. Showing slides covering his early works right up to his latest creations, Shinoda shared jokes as he gave a talk that seemed to reverberate with everyone present. His relaxed discussion with Kataoka, who has followed his career since its very beginnings, covered each of their interpretations of the meaning of a "sense of nature," and much more.
After the talk, one of the members struck up a conversation with Shinoda.
I came from Kobe for the gathering tonight and it was wonderful. I had never had the chance to see your work in the Kansai region.
Shinoda smiled in response: This is the first time I've showed my work in Japan in five years. It's the first time in six years to show it in Tokyo. I've only been showing overseas for the last few years, so it's really pleasing to hear that you have followed my work from Japan.
Shinoda and Kataoka were soon surrounded by groups of members, who all gave their impressions of the talk and of the exhibition in the light of the evening's discoveries.
Special guest Goto Shigeo commented that, I really hope that more of these kinds of events can be held. In the past there were tea ceremonies, and an important part of those was the idea that the participants would exchange their opinions about the tea ceremony utensils being used or the scroll or flowers that were always on display. I think it would be good if art museums could be seen as the successors of that kind of social and cultural interaction.
He also said, It would be good not just to have occasions where members can look at the art and talk about it, but instead to create a community that will really support art. Members could invest in a particular art project and even contribute to an artist's realization of it. They could be given the chance to share the dream. That would be fantastic.
The museum general manager, Takahashi Shinya, brought the evening to a conclusion by making some remarks. Several members disappeared back into the galleries to take advantage of the last few minutes before closing time. Evidently the evening had inspired in them - and undoubtedly everyone else, too - a genuine reawakening in their "sense of nature."
To read more of the talk between Shinoda and Kataoka, be sure to check out the Museum Blog.
Text by Kojima Yayoi (Freelance curator, writer)