Message from the Exhibition Director
Message from the Exhibition Director Noritaka Tatehana
Based on the concept “old meets new,” the Edo Tokyo Kirari Project was conceived to introduce the timeless appeal of Tokyo both to Japan and to the wider world.
This is an appeal embodied by the many venerable shops that have carried on the flame of craftsmanship, culture, and tradition in the city over the centuries, from the Edo period to the modern day.
As an offshoot of the project, I have joined the Edo Tokyo Rethink exhibition, as both a contributing artist and exhibition director. In the past, I have held a number of other exhibitions bearing the title “Rethink.” However, I believe this project’s theme, “old meets new,” dovetails particularly well with the notion I have sought to convey with the word “rethink.”
In essence, Japan’s traditions and culture have been handed down over the generations, in a seamless, unbroken chain. Rather than merely rehashing these traditions in the modern age, we should rethink our heritage, adding an extra layer of modern meaning and reinterpretation. You could say that all of my work is predicated on the full accretion of Japanese history and culture. In that sense, I see “old meets new” as being synonymous with the act of rethinking. My career has been a constant process of connecting past and present, across myriad collaborations with traditional crafts and performing arts.
In order to preserve our traditions for the next 100 years, we must ask what we can do in the present, identifying what should change with the times, and what should remain the same. What modern meaning will we add, now that it is our turn to define tradition?
The present exhibition serves to introduce the many charms of Tokyo, while also presenting all of us an opportunity to rethink old and new.
Edo Tokyo Kirari Project Promotion Committee
Edo Tokyo Rethink Exhibition Director
Contemporary Artist Noritaka Tatehana
Photo by GION
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