In the harsh winter time, art is perhaps the only valid reason for us to travel through the snow and wind, walk across the icy fields to visit Echigo-Tsumari in Niigata Prefecture.
International biennales or triennales often take places in cities with good transport connection, Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale is however quite the opposite. Being one of the most significant art fairs, Echigo-Tsumari Art Field is a good 3-hour drive from Tokyo city. By getting away from the bustling metropolis, visitors are able to depart from their usual pace of life and enjoy the peace of mind in the surrounding of nature and art. Another reason to host the art fair in this remote location is to boast the local economy.
Echigo-Tsumari is a region of beautiful ladder fields and rich farmlands. For many years, the region has been one of the main origins of rice. As more of the younger generations move to the city to seek alternative job opportunities. The area started seeing the aging problem with many farmlands being abandoned. The once vivid region started to lose its vivant colour. In around 2000, Kitagawa Furamu was invited to curate Echigo-Tsumari Art Field; His major task was to use art as a bridge to re-connect residents of the area and to regain the attention from the already departed youths, to show to the world the unique beauty of the region. Naturally, art is not the only single theme in Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, but also human, nature as well as the inseparable bonding among the three.
Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale only happens once every three years, but Echigo-Tsumari Art Field also features 4 seasonal event annually. For every of the 4 seasons, Echigo-Tsumari Art Field hosts a two-week activity to share the beauty of that particular season. In Winter 2017, visitors can participate in firework show in the snow and “Snowart Trail”, a guided art tour through the snow; Additionally, there is also a solo photography and sculpture exhibition featuring the Hokkaido artist Kineta Kunimatsu.