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Indepth Arts News:

"Mediarena: contemporary art from Japan"
2004-03-13 until 2004-06-07
Govett-Brewster Art Gallery
New Plymouth, , NZ New Zealand (Aotearoa)

The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery has received major sponsorship funding from both Japan and New Zealand to present the largest exhibition of contemporary Japanese art ever shown in New Zealand. Curated by Gallery Director Gregory Burke and leading international art curators Roger McDonald and Fumio Nanjo Mediarena: contemporary art from Japan opens March 13 and surveys artists working in the media of painting, sculpture, installation, photography, video and sound art with a special focus on the high level of digital animation and interactive work produced in Japan today.

"The outstanding level of support we have received from our sponsors endorses the commitment cultural institutions and business leaders in both countries have made to the Govett-Brewster Art Galleryís presentation of this major show and demonstrates the value they place on building cultural relationships between the communities of the Pacific Rim," said Gallery Director Gregory Burke.

This endorsement has translated into significant financial support for staging the exhibition from the Chartwell Trust, the Govett-Brewster Foundation, the Japan Foundation, Shiseido Tokyo, Toshiba Foundation Tokyo and the TSB Community Trust.

Asia 2000, Creative New Zealand, the Japan World Exposition Commemorative Fund, the New Zealand Community Trust and the New Zealand Japan Exchange Programme are supporting the extensive performance, speaker and music programmes to be held in Auckland, New Plymouth and Wellington.

"We are pleased to announce these key sponsors who will enable the Govett-Brewster to present major works and to bring this exhibition to the widest audience," said Mr Burke.

Meanwhile senior Japanese artist Noboru Tsubaki arrived in New Zealand on Sunday to begin a residency in association with the exhibition. Tsubaki is Associate Professor at Tezukayama Gakuin University, Osaka and Director of Inter-Medium Institute, Osaka. While in New Plymouth he will build a major environmental sculpture on the New Plymouth foreshore as well as making work for the Mediarena exhibition at the Gallery.

"Tsubaki is interested in the environmental monitoring role of the United Nations and his work will reflect this, particularly with reference to the Asia-Pacific", said Mr Burke. Mr Tsubaki will give a lecture at the Gallery at 6pm Tuesday 24 February and at events in Auckland and Wellington in March.

Mediarena reflects artistic developments from the last 30 years in Japan, with particular emphasis on art being made now in Tokyo and Osaka.

Highlights include computerised neon sculptures by Tatsuo Miyajima shown for the first time in a public gallery; a major interactive photographic installation by Hiroyuki Matsukage; the super real paintings of Mika Kato; and a major installation by rising art star Tabaimo who presents her recent fully interactive work Japanese interior comprising a replica of a Japanese house that the viewer can navigate through via the use of a purpose built interactive computer.

Mediarena was conceived in 1999 when Fumio Nanjo and Gregory Burke met at a museums conference opened by the Prime Minister Helen Clark in New Plymouth. The curators realised that audiences in both countries had little exposure to each otherís artistic practice and resolved to increase artistic dialogue between Japan and New Zealand. Fumio Nanjo is a leading Japanese curator and Deputy Director at the Mori Art Museum, a new major arts venue in Roppongi, Tokyo.

A 128-page colour catalogue featuring essays by leading curators and artists on developments in contemporary Japanese art will accompany the exhibition.

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