Mountain Territory Welcomes Art Festival

BY Katrina Kufer / May 31 2017 / 14:42 PM

The inaugural Japan Alps Art Festival in Omachi is set to open in June, the latest in a series of Japanese culture festivals

Mountain Territory Welcomes Art Festival
© 2017 Japan Alps Art Festival Executive Committee
Installation view

Fram Kitagawa, festival director and head of Art Front Gallery (Daikanyama), is behind the latest Japanese art event set against the backdrop of the scenic Kurobe dam. Following an influx of art festivals across Japan in 2016, including the Setouchi Triennale, the Saitama Triennale and Kenpoku Art, Japan is aiming for a full 2017 programme as it welcomes this new fair alongside the latest edition of the Yokohama Triennale.

Despite being a 50-minute train ride from Tokyo, Kitagawa has faith that the rural adventure will be worthwhile for visitors. Featuring a mélange of local and international artists, it will showcase artists such as Tadashi Kawamata, Toshikatsu Endo, Philippine Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan, and Finnish Maaria Wirkkala. And, if the nearly 40 in-situ, relational and object-based works aren’t enough to satiate, festival-goers will also have the chance to experience the striking 700-metre above sea level setting surrounded by 3000-metre-high mountains.

Appropriately themed Water, Wood, Soil, Sky, “The Japan Alps are places where people meet with the mountain gods and animals,” explained Kitagawa in a statement. “Omachi city has located at the western end of Fossa Magna […] It is a singular point in Japan where the geology and plants of the east and west of the Japanese archipelago meet.”

Indicating that nature has as much of an effect on the curatorial remit and artistic production as the art and programming do on installing themselves in this open-air venue, he continues “the Japan Alps Art Festival is an attempt to overlook the mountain from the alluvial fan and look at the blue sky from the waterside where artists create brilliant and refreshing artworks in the face of the landscape and history of this land.”

Japan Alps Art Festival will run 4 June-30 July in Omachi, Japan. For more information visit