Kenji Yanobe, Wedding of the Sun ;
In a relieving antidote, artist Yanobe Kenji qualified the Aichi Triennale’s ambition with self-awareness. “I think that I will have to present something which is almost embarrassingly positive,” he says in the guide about his sprawling work Wedding of the Sun. Yanobe is no stranger to art in response to nuclear disaster. For a performance project in the late 1990s, he went to Chernobyl dressed in an “Atom Suit”; in October 2011, his Sun Child appeared in the Expo Commemoration Park in Suita, Japan, months after 3.11. Sun Child—a large sculpture of a similarly suited Gavroche—reappeared at the Aichi Triennale as, essentially, a mascot, a key element of his sprawling Wedding of the Sun installation. Yanobe’s piece evokes the “embarrassingly positive,” but also makes awkward contemporary Japan’s aggressive culture of escapism and mollification as embodied in kawaii and anime aesthetics. Yanobe himself calls his Sun Child bittersweet, at once a kind of David-triumphing-over-Goliath and a false god of the nuclear. For Wedding of the Sun, Yanobe constructed a chapel and its accoutrements in the Aichi Arts Center and held weddings there, in what can only be read as an ultra-kitschy response to Igarashi’s interest in “awakening” and “resurrection.” The piece had particular resonance in Aichi, a prefecture recognized throughout Japan for its lavish weddings. (When our junket arrived in Nagoya, a wedding was taking place in the lobby of our hotel as if on cue; in the Aichi Arts Center, Wolfgang Puck’s café had a display table advertising elaborate wedding cakes.) And so Yanobe, who has, like Tokujin Yoshioka, collaborated with fashion designer Issey Miyake (that collaboration, an anthropomorphized dressing room called Queen Mamma, was included in Wedding of the Sun), created a meditation on Japanese industry, of which nuclear energy is only one part.
- See more at: http://www.canadianart.ca/features/2014/01/06/japan-aichi-mori-triennials/#sthash.vIAw7xf1.dpuf