July 12, 2024

Conversations: Tokyo / 対話:東京

October 5 – December 1, 2023
Quiet Preview* October 5, 5:00 – 6:00pm
Public Preview October 5, 6:00 – 8:00pm

The gallery is open Monday – Friday, 11:00am – 4:00pm

Exhibition Research Lab presents the first UK exhibition of practice and archival material from Art Center Ongoing, Datsuijo and Tohmei Diner. Co-curated by Yang Chunting, Matthew Lawson Garrett, Catherine Harrington, Gaku Inoue, LIJINGWEN, Leo Nelki, Hibiki Mizuno, Rika Nakashima, Yu Fush Nishikawa, Nozomu Ogawa, Gabrielle Reed, Dr James Schofield, Tatsuhiko Togashi and Cleo Verstrepen.

Tokyo is a truly global city in every sense of the word. A sprawling metropolis with what can feel like no end, it is in a constant state of flux. Not only does it shift and warp to expand its physical and conceptual spaces, it also acts as the socio-economic focal point for a nation to the outside world.

Within its borders and population of nearly 14 million there are a diverse range of creative communities that overlap, creating complex relations between disciplines and peoples. However, given the density of population, the limited number of large-scale institutions, and a commercial art market smaller than most large cities globally, how and where do the majority of practitioners exist and operate?

As is the near-universal case for creative practitioners, here self-organisation is key.

Conversations: Tokyo uses this self-organising impulse as a starting point and stages a number of conversations focused around the subject with Art Center Ongoing, Datsuijo and Tohmei Diner. Taking a variety of forms (audio, visual, conversational, performative, experiential), and with a variety of formalities, they present a window into an open and honest dialogue of the practice and existence of those collective organisations and their constituent practitioners currently active in Tokyo.

Displaying examples of practice, archival records, direct communication, and warping spatio-temporal boundaries of the physical locations of the organisations themselves, the project creates an immersive environment for learning and exchange. Through this, Conversations: Tokyo hopes to collaboratively share and generate new knowledge between geographic locations and peoples in order to develop new approaches to shared issues.

Art Center Ongoing is a compact art complex with a gallery, library and café, which opened in January 2008 and has introduced numerous artists with the idea of “a place where ongoing experimental forms of expression can be pursued.” Since 2013, we have also been involved in an artist-in-residence programme and continued to actively build a network with the international art scene. In addition to exhibitions, we have held various events such as talks, performances, and workshops, aiming to create a place where a diverse range of people can gather around the arts.

Datsuijo (a) place to be naked wishes to bring a new perspective on art-making – stressing its intimate nature while elevating its political significance. The project space, named “Datsuijo,” serves as the base for our collective activities, seeking an intermediate sphere between the private and the public. By carrying out experimental projects within this space, we investigate the present-day dynamics between ourselves and society.

Tohmei Diner is a 7-seat diner located in Arakawa-ku, Tokyo. It is open Thursday – Monday (closed on Tuesday and Wednesday), 17:00 – 23:00, and shares its space with the gallery Lavender Opener Chair.

Conversations is an iterative project developed as the outcome of a research residency into self-organised artistic practices hosted by Tokyo Arts and Space in Autumn 2022 by Dr James Schofield.

It seeks to provide a snapshot of self-organised practice from a given geographic location presented online / offline elsewhere in the world. It is hoped that by providing insights into different strategies employed by practitioners, groups, collectives and organisations to common global issues – driven by neoliberalism, globalisation and network culture – that it will promote exchange of skills, experience and knowledge in self-organised contexts. As the project grows and more geographic conversations take place, an online database will be created to allow it to become a peer-led, and community driven, resource.

Conversations can take any form in the most expanded sense and have any level of formality / informality, depending on the resources available when they are conducted and documented.

*Please note, our projects and events are always open to all. However, our Quiet Preview is for visitors of all ages who require reduced volume and reduced numbers of other visitors compared to our Public Preview. As such, we may stagger entry for visitors to ensure the gallery doesn’t become too crowded at any given time.

If you have any other access requirements, then please contact us and we will do our best to facilitate them.