BORDERLESS – An Analysis of The Human-Nature Relationship in Contemporary Japanese Art

In the Anthropocene Era there is no space for interaction between human and nature: natural landscape and social landscape are conceived as two separate and distinct entities, and the ecosystem as a raw material to be shaped and exploited under the domination of man. Faced with the self-destructive tendencies of modernity, more and more artists on the contemporary scene are crying out for a return to nature that has its roots in indigenous traditions.

Emblematic in this dialogue is the role of contemporary Japan, which in rethinking the relationship between human and nature finds itself redefining the ownership of its own national identity after centuries of industrialization and cultural colonialism. The return to nature leads him to recall his animist tradition, which currently takes the form of a post-modern animism: an abolition of the human-nature dualism in the technological present, with spaces for interaction and mutual influence without pre-established boundaries.

Inspired by the approach adopted in the Pera + Flora + Fauna exhibition which resonates the sensibility and power of the primitive voice, I have selected a series of Japanese artists and collectives who aspire to awaken ecological awareness by inviting the viewer to enter into symbiosis with natural phenomena and to interact with snow, water, fog, flowers and forests. Through the power of art, the viewer is immersed in a reality in which he participates emotionally and bodily.

“There is another kind of art that talks about the power of connection and establishes bonds, the art that calls us to relate.” -Suzi Gablik.

The return to nature starts with Tokujin Yoshioka and the shift from a material world to a spiritual world, made of emotions and collective memory. It then follows with Takashi Kuribayashi and the physical reversal of the human perspective placed above nature, revealing the artificiality of such separation. Then we will get to walk and dance inside the poetic artificial atmospheres of Fujiko Nakaya and finally, to the art collective TeamLab, which through its ultrasound spaces of digitalized nature, creates an art that truly is without borders.

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