AKIO NAGASAWA Gallery | Publishing has been organizing exhibitions and publishing art books mainly by Japanese postwar artists, with the aim to introduce them to audiences in Japan and abroad.
As a guiding principle behind our work, we want to participate in the personal histories of artists, or in art history at large, by providing gallery space that functions as a catalyst for artistic activities, while also creating new works together with artists. By realizing projects, they have conceived but were unable to bring to fruition in the past for various reasons or inspiring them to try new things with the support of our unique activities and assets, we wish to encourage artists to engage in projects that they can only realize together with us.
Our company operates three galleries, at Ginza, Aoyama and Toranomon respectively, each of which offers programs tailored to suit the types of people in these very different types of area. In the rather traditional environment of the Ginza district, we showcase experienced master artists; in the fashionable Aoyama neighborhood, young international creators of cutting-edge art; and in the Toranomon business district, artists whose styles are appealing also for audiences that normally don’t have much to do with art.
Whenever artists unveil new works, they generally do so mostly at galleries, rather than at museums. The works may gain popularity, and sooner or later, be exhibited at a museum, but in either case, we believe that the firsts steps in the history of art(ists) are always taken at galleries. In that sense, curating an exhibition is always an exciting experience. One thing we usually keep in mind when planning an exhibition, is the question how we can directly communicate the world-view of an artist to those who come to see his or her exhibition. It is indeed very much a question of how to put on a good “show” that grabs and fascinates the audience. For us, this is what exhibition curation is all about.
Next to actual, physical exhibitions, we also show artworks online: ONLINE Exhibition. These are not entirely virtual affairs, but we film/photograph works on display at the real galleries (but without visitors), and publish the edited footage on the Internet. Up to now, we have produced and published more than 30 videos of exhibitions, which we consider to be a tool for communicating the essence of an artist’s work, to people who are unable to attend a physical exhibition.
We channel just as much energy into the publication of art books, as into the planning of exhibitions. In our view, the best way to appreciate works of art is to visit an exhibition and stand in front of the actual works. This, however, requires traveling to the place, at the time of the respective exhibition. When they are included in a book, as long as the book is available, one can look at the works at any time and any place. In addition, an exhibition lasts for a few months at most, before displays are dismantled and the works disappear from view, whereas a book lasts forever, unless it is burned or thrown away. Geographically, books can transport artworks to new and unknown audiences on the other side of the globe, while temporally, they may serve as bridges to those who read them ten, twenty, or even a hundred years later.
Exhibitions and books are of course two different things. The passion of an artist that one senses in the space of an exhibition, is an irreplaceable experience, so an exhibition is by far the best environment for people to connect to an artist’s own unique world. However in reality, more often than not, art books are opportunities for learning about new artists. For such books, it is the overall design, the quality of the paper, the editing of the text, that define the appearance of the book itself, and at the same time, have a significant impact on the respective artist’s rating. Even the most outstanding work of art becomes meaningless when it is included in a book that doesn’t match its quality. A book is a very physical thing. It involves the design aspects of binding, bookmaking, layout and editing, while browsing through it happens along a timeline that is defined by the speed of turning the pages with one’s fingers. For this reason, we attach importance to the production of art books as “art objects”, that embody an artist’s creative ideas while utilizing the characteristic qualities of a book, rather than putting together simple catalogues. We AKIO NAGASAWA Gallery | Publishing will continue our two-pronged activities to introduce superior artists from Japan to the world, by hosting exhibitions, and publishing art books.