Friday, September 15, 2017

Laboratory of the Forest 2017 横浜の森美術展 2017

The 10th Art Exhibition in the Forest of Yokohama is from 10 September in the forest next to Yokohama Zoorasia. The show will be held till 24 September, as a presentation of artworks created during the workshop series started last May. The event is organized by GROUP the Creation and Voice of the Woods 創造と森の声. (Phone/FAX: 045-933-1460, Email: Their Facebook is here.) The show is free of charge for visitors. According to the GROUP people, as their activity has entered in the third decade, they changed the approach to the event from “mainly exhibition” to “mainly workshop.” In addition, the forest of their activity is entering the final stage of the municipal project to be a botanical park of the City of Yokohama. The GROUP decided to have an emphasis on forest maintenance activities year-round. (Actually, I’ve found the place could have an interesting status in Japanese history for modern botany. I’ll come back to it after reading Fred Pearce …) So, this year’s Laboratory of the Forest is a kind of first step for the second generation of their concept. Let’s dive in the forest to see what’s happening there.

The most frequent transportation services to the forest of the GROUP is to ride a bus either from JR Nakayama 中山 station or Sotetsu Tsurugamine 鶴ヶ峰 Station. There are the routes Asahi 11 and 15, -11/-15, both of which connect two stations. (From Nakayama, the time table is here. From Tsurugamine, the table is here.)  If you take a bus from Nakayama, get off the bus at Kohdan-Shukaijoh-mae 公団集会場前. If you look to the right from the bus stop, beyond the traffic light, you’ll find a building looks like an old school. It is now-defunct Hikarigaoka Elementary School ひかりが丘小学校. If you ride a bus from Tsurugamine for Nishi-Hikarigaoka 西ひかりが丘, it actually takes you in front of this building at the bus stop, called Nishi-Hikarigaoka, the final stop. In any case, first you walk a bit to the direction of Hikarigaoka Elementary and turn left at the first corner from the Nishi-Hikarigaoka bus stop. Go straight. Eventually you enter a small, paved and steeply climbing-up road between the forest on the right and a retirement housing complex, Care Home Yokohama and Villa Yokohama, on the left. Pass the top of the hill seeing a downing slope on the left between the Care Home and Villa. At this point on the edge of the forest, there is a big banner saying “the Creation and Voice of the Woods 創造と森の声.” From there, keep on going 10m or so along the forest, and on the right we see the entrance for the exhibition. Another bus route we can use is the bus to Zoorasia. Use Asahi 9 and 10, -9/-10, to Zoorasia of Sotetsu from Yokohama (time table, here) or from Tsurugamine (time tables, here and here) Stations. Sotetsu Bus has another service from Mitsukyo 三ツ境 Station with Asahi 33 and 34, -33/-34, (time table, here). There also is City Bus service Route 136 to Zoorasia from JR Nakayama Station (time table, here). Get off the bus at Yokohama Zoorasia, and proceed further along for about 400 m to the direction of #2 Parking of the Zoo. On the right, there will be a small gate with the sign GROUP the Creation and Voice of the Woods. If you visit the place during weekends, many Asahi 10, 33, 34 and Route 136 buses will take us to the North Gate of Zoorasia (terminal stop) that is the closest to the workshop entrance. When you leave the terminal stop of Zoorasia North Gate, go back a bit along the bus road, and on the left there is the sign for the GROUP.

The gate to the forest for the Exhibition from Zoorasia
Could you see a bollard over there
from the banner of the GROUP?
That’s at the entrance.
The entrance to the place

6 artworks are created during the workshop series of 2017, and now shown in the forest. They are

“Dance, Dance, Dance,” with Kazuo Ishiguro 石黒和夫, created in May 13-14 and 20-21

“We created a troop of 18 dancers from twigs of the forest.
They are bopping in the forest path!”
A ritual in a forest of New Guinea … ?

“Abstraction of the Forest,” with Yohichiro Yoshikawa 吉川陽一郎, created in July 15-17.

“A large circle that is an abstraction in the forest.
Along the circle line, we transplanted dragon’s beard
(dwarf lilyturf / Ophiopogon japonicas) found in the forest.
It’s a painting
as an order created by humans in the wilderness.”

The installation is continuing
to the last year’s work:
the dragon’s beard there is
well established now.

“Athletic Drum,” with ASADA, created on July 29.

“We created a place with lots of ‘musical instruments’
in the forest.
Please enjoy music of yours!”
Bong! (with a rubber sandal)

“Land-art Labo,” with Kazuma Horie 堀江和真, created on August 6 and 10.

“We created tiny mountains in the forest by moving the soil,
and decorated them with small twigs.
Eventually, they will be covered by grasses and mosses
to be a part of the forest.”

This one starts to be taken over by a vine.
It’s becoming the forest …

“Sleeping in the Forest,” with Noriaki Oka 岡典明, created on August 19 and September 2.

“We created a wooden deck in the forest
for us to throw ourselves down.
We then nailed the twigs and flowers on it.
Together, we see the sky through the tree canopy,
and feel the wind in the forest.”

“Cathedral of the Forest,” with all artists, created on September 10.

“We weaved the tree branches
to create a cathedral,
and decorate it
with ‘stained glasses.’”

I personally love the canopy of the cathedral.
Tree canopy and plastic “glasses” kids made
become one …

From this year’s installations, I had an impression that the artists are now getting used to the “time” of the forest. Forest evolves resolutely by their own term, and flatly rejects the urge of the humans to control the temporal space. The artwork in the forest, then, would be difficult to be “installations” of homo sapience, but something a part of the flow of the space and time determined only by the nature. Since each artwork has been evolving for more than 5 months already, many of them started to gather moss or even decay. Even though, the visitors of the venue can join the spirit of human conception by situating our body within each artwork in the forest. You can stand at the center of dancers there. Your experience this time will be definitely different from the tableau we had during the 2017 National Urban Greenery Fair 全国都市緑化フェア where urbanites of polished shoes strolled along the artificially created promenade. Surely, it’s a matter of your preference. But I do prefer these dancers here to them in May.

At the entrance,
they have posters about each artworks
and a map of the venue.

If you find a problem in the site introduced in this post, the best contact address will be GROUP the Creation and Voice of the Woods.

In any case, the city office which is in charge of this forest is
Office for the Park Greeneries in the North 北部公園緑地事務所
Yokohama Municipal Government Creative Environment Policy Bureau 横浜市環境創造局
Phone: 045-311-2016 (I guess in Japanese only)
FAX: 045-316-8420 (I hope there is somebody who can read English …)

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