Yokohama Triennale’s Heavy Hitters Consider New Futures

BY Katrina Kufer / May 7 2017 / 15:51 PM

The sixth edition of the Japanese art event releases names of the first 26 of 40 participating artists

Yokohama Triennale’s Heavy Hitters Consider New Futures
Photography by Szymon Rogynski. Image courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery
Christian Jankowski. Heavy Weight History (Detail). 2013.

Following the recent announcement of the theme Islands, Constellations & Galapagos, the Organising Committee for Yokohama Triennale has revealed the first names of the well-established artists taking part in the triennial which opens on 4 August. While the list of the estimated 40 artists is smaller than previous editions, each will exhibit multiple works in order to give the effect of solo exhibition archipelagos (mirroring the theme) which will allow visitors to have a more in-depth exploration of each practice. Participants include Ai Weiwei, Olafur Eliasson, Maurizio Cattelan, Anri Sala & Rirkrit Tiravanija, Jenny Holzer, Rob Pruitt, Wael Shawky and The Propellor Group, among others (see full list here), several of whom are showing in Japan for the first time.

Under the guidance of directors Eriko Osaka, also director of the Yokohama Museum of Art, and Akiko Miki, who serves as international artistic director of Benesse Art Site Naoshima, the artists will tackle a theme that examines connectivity and isolation set against the architectural backdrop of Yokohama’s historical trajectory towards modernism.

Drawing inspiration from the complex networks that define contemporary society, while breaking out beyond traditional frameworks, “it is being shaken to its foundations by challenges such as conflict, refugees and immigration, and the emergence of protectionism, xenophobia, and populism,” said Miki in a statement. “At the same time, the world is awash in data far exceeding the processing capacity of human beings, and in an increasingly complex and sophisticated environment where communication tools such as social media are developing rapidly, people appear to be banding together into small, disparate groups of ‘island universe’ and communities.”

Against the backdrop of disruptive social change, political challenges and growing activity of smaller communities and organisations, the triennial aims to observe this state of flux and consider the true nature of identity and diversity alongside the roles of courage and imagination. This, explained Miki, “can be used to derive a new vision and ground design for the future when our future remains uncertain."

The Yokohama Triennale runs 4 August-5 November at the Yokohama Museum of Art, Japan. For more information visit