On artist residencies and their impact – FIN/JPN Lab part III

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On artist residencies and their impact – FIN/JPN Lab part III

The Finnish Institute in Japan has long been active in organising artist residencies between Finland and Japan. Enabling art professionals’ to work in another country is a concrete example of the institute’s role as a link in the cultural sector. The residencies not only provide the artist the opportunity to gain new inspirations and viewpoints to their work, but also create new, long-lasting connections and strengthen already existing networks.

One of the institutes long time partners in Japan is Youkobo Art Space, located in Suginami, Tokyo. The cooperation, ongoing for already around 20 years, is continuing and also evolving. In 2017 the institute and Youkobo launched a new program Y-AIR (Young Artist in Residence). The program focuses on young artists and also expands the geographical scope of residencies outside the capital areas: The Finnish locations participating are Oulu and Ii in Northern Finland, and Finnish artists coming from North Finland to Japan take part in Tenku Art Festival in Tomi City, Nagano Prefecture.

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Y-AIR-program participants receive an inspiring work environment surround by nature. Year 2017’s Japanese participant Erica Masuya worked on a video Something Invisible (photo) in Northern Finland.

During its founding year Y-AIR’s artists in residence were Tuija Teiska and Erica Masuya. Their work shows the diversity of art created during the residencies: Teiska works with weaving and textiles, creating detailed sculptures, whereas Masuya’s main medium is video with elements of performance.

Youkobo also collaborates with Finnish Artists’ Studio Foundation and Arts Promotion Centre Finland, and an artist working in Tokyo through the cooperation currently is Maija Luutonen. With Luutonen, Teiska and Masuya all in Tokyo at the same time, Youkobo Art Space and The Finnish Institute in Japan decided to organise a small seminar showcasing the artists’ work and experiences, as well as residencies in a broader sense. Another Japanese artist, who participated in a residence supported by Finnish Artists’ Studio Foundation in Finland during summer 2017, Kazuo Yoshida, also joined the lineup of the event. The event was the third FIN/JPN Lab seminar, with the first organized in fall 2016 and the second one in spring 2017.

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The third FIN/JPN Lab event gathered a great crowd to The Finnish Institute in Japan’s coference space. Kati Laakso from the institute and Tatsuhiko Murata from Youkobo Art Space discussed residencies and their benefits together with the artists.

The event, organized on October 27th, brought a full house of art professionals from e.g. museums, galleries, universities and media. Besides introducing the artists and their work and highlighting the benefits of artist residencies, the seminar also acted as a networking opportunity for all participants. The audience also included several artists, for example artist-researcher Simo Kellokumpu who is currently working at Tokyo Arts and Space’s residency supported by HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme and Finnish Cultural Foundation.

The Finnish Institute in Japan is actively in contact with other residency organizers and supporters, as well as artists participating in them. To support the publicity of Finnish artists, the institute features events concerning them in its communications – such as the Tokyo Arts and Space Open Studio event that will introduce Kellokumpu’s work. Finnish artists participating in artist residencies in Japan are often featured in the institute’s Instagram account, including occasional takeovers by the artists.