SEIAN ARTS ATTENTION VOL.6 What is Faith Today? “My god| Your god”
オープニングパーティ：Part 1- 10月3日（金）17:00 - 19:00（成安造形大学）Part 2 10月3日(金) 19:00-21:00（ホテル アンテルーム 京都）
"Trinity", Alexandre Maubert
SEIAN ARTS ATTENTION VOL.6
What is Faith Today? “My god| Your god”
Date｜ 2014 October 3 [Fri] – November 23 [Sun]* October 3 [Fri] 15:00-
Location｜SEIAN ART CENTER , MII-DERA TEMPLE , HOTEL ANTEROOM KYOTO
Closed｜ SEIAN ART CENTER: Closed on non-holiday Mondays;
Open on holiday Mondays 10.13 and 11.3;
Closed Tuesday 10.14, 11.4; Also closed 11.12 [Wed] – 14 [Fri]
MII-DERA TEMPLE and the HOTEL ANTEROOM KYOTO will be open every day.
Time｜SEIAN ART CENTER 12:00 – 18:00, MII-DERA TEMPLE 8:00 – 17:00,
HOTEL ANTEROOM KYOTO 12:00—19:00
Admission ｜Free *Entrance fee to MII-DERA TEMPLE: Adults: 500 yen |
JHS/HS students: 300 yen | ES students: 200 yen
Opening Party｜October 3 [Fri] 17:00 – 19:00 Seian University of Art and Design
October 3 [Fri] 20:00 – 21:00 HOTEL ANTEROOM KYOTO(Gallery 9.5)
Organizer｜SEIAN ART CENTER
Cooperators｜MII-DERA TEMPLE, HOTEL ANTEROOM KYOTO, Institut français du Japon – Kansai,
NEC Display Solutions,Ltd.
Support｜Shiga Prefecture, Shiga Prefectural School Board, Otsu City, Otsu City School Board,
Cultural Economics Forums of Shiga
Have you ever given any thought to what faith means in the context of our contemporary society? Or else about what the idea of a deity means for you? How about what exactly art is?
With a view to thinking more on these issues, fifteen art students and seven established artists visited some of the temples and shrines near Seian University of Art and Design in Shiga Prefecture, including Mii-dera (officially Onjoji) Temple, Hiei-zan Enryaku-ji Temple and Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine. This exhibition showcases the works that arose out of the various reflections these visits sparked off: reflections on the various artistic styles encountered and their wider geopolitical context, as well as new perspectives on the religious subject as it occurs within contemporary art.
The shrines and temples in this area are of great historical significance, with Mii-dera named as head temple of the Tendai Jimon sect of Buddhism, Hiei-zan Enryaku-ji as head of the Tendai Sanmon sect, and Hiyoshi Taisha the head shrine of the Sanno branch of Shinto. Yet all three also serve as veritable treasure chests through which we can garner a sense of art’s earliest origins. Art evolved, after all, as one element of religious architecture. Starting with markers for the paths leading through to the main hall of a temple or shrine, and the statues of deities and Buddhas intended to be actual instantiations of the particular figures they represent, a close examination of these religious buildings reveals a great range of different architectural and decorative devices and techniques, all incorporated with the ultimate aim of providing their visitors with a spiritual encounter.
The origin of these three head temples and shrines in close proximity to one another dates back to the seventh century, when the Japanese lost the Battle of Baekgang they were fighting with Baekje, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, to Silla, another of the three Kingdoms. Consequently, the Emperor’s place of residence, and hence the nation’s capital, moved from Asuka no Miya Palace (present day Nara Prefecture) to Omi no Miya Palace in Shiga Prefecture. It is said that Hiyoshi Taisha used to be known as ‘Hie’, illustrating its close ties with Hiei-zan (Mount Hiei). Indeed, in the days when Buddhism and Shinto were not clearly demarcated, it functioned as the shrine dedicated to the mountain’s guardian deity. It is also worth noting that Mii-dera and Hiei-zan Enryaku-ji, now sister temples, were once rivals. In considering the power dynamics and geopolitics lying in the background of these buildings, we might also make the connection with the sixteenth century and the Renaissance in Western Europe, commonly perceived as the time when art first became independent from religion.
Contemplating the issue of faith in contemporary society also means questioning contemporary values. Modernity has brought us capitalist society and a linear timeframe, and these, in turn, have given rise to a value system whereby a thing’s worth is judged purely upon whether or not it can generate a profit. Perhaps the clearest illustrations of this come from the often seen examples of unashamed money worship, and the oft-quoted ‘time is money’. However, these values are brought into question by the reinstatement of hostilities across the world that hark back to the Cold War and the shift to the political right of those countries participating in financially driven conflict, not to mention the fears of both the sheer might of nature and the man-made dangers associated with nuclear radiation stirred up by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. These events should surely make us question the soundness of capitalist and nationalist worldviews.
This venue for this exhibition is not only Seian University of Art and Design’s Seian Art Center, but also Mii-dera, currently celebrating the 1,200-year anniversary of its foundation, and the Hotel Anteroom Kyoto. We hope that it provides viewers an opportunity to ponder spiritual questions as they affect contemporary Japanese society and individual members of society, and perhaps points towards the possibility of a new sense of value.
* Seian Art Center is based on the concept of ‘The Campus as Art Museum’ and offers people a more interactive experience of art by being spread around the university campus. The project opened in October 2010, to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the foundation of Kyoto Seian Gakuen. There are nine gallery spaces across the campus showing exhibitions all year round.