© January 2002




































International Exchange by means of art as a simple and effective way of promoting international relations


André Marhaun


As the local Coordinator for International Relations in Moriya machi, I have conducted some interviews with the present artists in residence within the ARCUS project who live and work in Moriya. The „artist - in - residenceg - programme is the core of the project, which enables Japanese and foreign young artists to live and work from September to February in Moriya machi in Ibaraki Prefecture, to develop new works and to encounter with other artists and communities. The local residents can experience the process and the ideas of art and can enter into a cultural exchange with the artists. Thus, eventually a singular and attractive community will be promoted.


I have been asked to send some interviews with the local artists in residence, coming from the United States, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, France and Japan to the Ibaraki Newsletter. However, since they have been really extensive, and I just could not decide to elect one and skip the others, I would like to tell a bit about my views on art as a means of furthering international relations instead, using examples from the artwork of the artists presently working in Moriya.


The work of a CIR (Coordinator for International Relations) is to promote the internationalization of Japan and, by these means, of the worldfs countries in general. This is done by the means of international exchange. The work of the artist is expressing images, words, sounds or feelings received by his observing the outer world, transforming those impressions inside himself into something that is expressed by the means of art or received by the means of intuition, if it is not intuition itself that directly is given expression in the outside world. In both cases, it is exchange - on the one hand side between the inner world and the world out side, on the other hand between the artist and either an instance gaboveg him or an exchange between the conscious and unconscious parts of his soul, depending on onefs point of view.


If this latter exchange takes place in an international environment as it is the case in the ARCUS Project in Moriya, the benefits will be ample.


Real exchange always requires going to the depths of the essence of the country one wants to exchange with. This requires knowing its people. The people can only be known, if one can view in their hearts, and to do this, one ultimately has to open onefs own. But this is exactly, what the artist does: opening up his own heart, and manifest its inner impressions in the outside world.

Thus, the world comes to know it, and the world can react. If the artist manages to make the reaction coming from the viewerfs inner core, real exchange will be born. If this happens between the people of different nations, the entire background of the different nations will be a part of this process. Since art usually appeals to the creative faculties of man, it can achieve much more than could be achieved, if international exchange just concentrated on the exchange of gordinaryh knowledge and information.


From the CIRfs point of view, art is a valuable means of reaching those he cannot reach by other means, and of appealing to those he can reach in a much deeper way. For the artist, International Exchange can provide a framework, where the influences he is taking in and giving out will multiply the comprehensiveness of his work.


Therefore ultimately, both do have the same aims.


This can be seen by the projects of the current ARCUS artists. For example, Cheng san is working on the „rose exchange projectg. In this project, he uses a universally known flower as an ginterfaceh to connect with people of different nations and to show them that there are similarities between them.


Considering, that the rose is an old symbol for the inner heart in the West, it really can reach the core.


Kuncoro san is explicitly researching the genetics, family tradition and identity both physical and cultural, handed down from various generations, and the cultural relationship between Indonesia and Japan in his project gA family portrait of the marriage of Indonesian and Japanese cultures.h Within his projects, he even interchanges the physical appeareances of people in combining physical features in a new way to take a glance into the future, thus linking it with present and past. By deducting from the outer form the inner possibilities, he links those he meets within this project to the outer world as well as he is establishing links between the outer and the inner world.

This, in my eyes, could be called an ginternational multidimensional exchangeh.


Pipitkul san is making sculptures by used clothes and food received from Japanese people and thus making them rethink what they consume and what they practically use in everyday life.

In the current context, this is of importance because to become conscious of onefs own habits is the first step in becoming conscious of oneself - and in becoming conscious of oneself, one will gain a basis for understanding others better as well, thus making real exchange possible.


Sawanobori sanfs medium is performance in which in a very intense process that can take those visiting it into her own sphere and thus directly impart the passion she feels she aims at making people aware of their unconsciousness and bringing encounter and developing communications in their ordinary lives. If you consider what has been said as to the work of Pipitkul san, you will see that Sawanobori sanfs work is providing an important basis for exchange. Without becoming conscious of the contence of the unconscious, one never will know onefs own personality. If this is not known, it will continue to be an obstacle to any true relationship and, ultimately, to peace.



I have not yet interviewed Sheehan san, who is doing mostly very small (but also very large) painting, and Flocfh san, who is working with installations, so just view there works yourselves (and those of the others as well, please) and try to find out what it could mean for international exchange andc for you. It is ultimately the individual, who contributes to all that, and it is the centre in which the outer world begins and ends.






ARCUS PROJECT 2001 Press Release.

ARCUS PROJECT 2000 Catalogue (2001 Catalogue yet to be published).

ARCUS STUDIO 2418 Itatoi, Moriya, Ibaraki 302 – 0101, Tel. and Fax 0297-46-2600

ARCUS Project http://www.arcus-project.com.





© 2001 by André Marhaun