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Kodama Kanazawa

Name : Kodama Kanazawa

What kind of curator : Contemporary art

Age (optional) :

Gender (optional) :

Website/instagram/facebook/etc… :

DYH : Who are you?


KK : My name is Kodama Kanazawa. I’m a freelance curator of contemporary art. 


DYH : Why are you interested in art? 


KK : I love contemporary art because it is a medium that allows different people from all over the world to connect with each other in the present. It is deep and diverse, and I find it wonderful. 


DYH : There are not that many female Japanese modern art curators working today on the global stage. What are your thoughts on that?


KK : Well, the fact that there are not many female museum directors in Japan is rooted in the misogyny that exists in the society. But regardless of gender, there are not that many Japanese curators working on the global stage. I think fundamentally a curator’s work should be local. contemporary art should serve its local population. But it is also true that there should be a few people who act as bridges to different worlds, and I personally would like to be one of them. And as such, the only thing I can say is that I will do my best! Ganbarimasu!


DYH : As a curator (or simply as a viewer) do you have any thoughts towards Japanese artists? What does it mean to be “Japanese-like”. Also, for Japanese artists that work on the global stage, what does it mean to “be Japanese” in the 2020s? 


KK : “Like-ness” is a sales word one uses for self-promotion. The world isn’t flat so rather than thinking of it as personality traits or characteristics, one should think of it more as an unavoidable destiny. For example when chatting with Americans and I say I’m from Japan, I get a lot of people who say with a tinge of pity: “oh you are from a society that devalues women, it must have been so hard to survive through that.” I didn’t know quite how to react at first. It is true that discrimination in Japan is terrible, but when you are treated as a victim whose humanity has been trampled to the extreme, it is tempting to say, "It's not that bad." But in the speaker’s mind, it is that bad. So it’s really of no use to contradict. On the other hand, should I engage in activities to support gender equality, that is something that would be much more easily accepted in America than in Japan. Makes one think, doesn’t it? 


Your nationality and how much of a connection you have to it, whether it be a conscious choice or not, always follows you around. On the one hand people may look with envy as they mention how Japan is the world’s third largest economy, or with excitement like “Oh wow! The country of that manga right!?” . On the other other hand, they can just as easily view Japan through the lens of its colonial past, or its aggressions during WW2, or the sex, violence, and hentai culture, or the nuclear disaster, etc. These things evoke very complicated feelings. One must be compelled to understand all these things through the lens of “one’s Japanese-ness”, process it, and then apply it to one’s actions. Especially if you are to work on a global stage.


DYH : Do you have a daily routine as a curator? If you are living with your partner or family, how do you make it work? 


KK : I never really thought about my daily routine as a curator… I definitely go through the day’s world news headlines, contemporary art news, things that come through my SNS or ML. I try to speak at least an hour of English everyday. I take lessons too. I want to say I speak Chinese everyday also.. but I’m slacking lately. Also this year, I am making time every day to read. My partner also loves contemporary art so it’s not hard to make things work. We run an art management company together, so we share meals and information and opinions together everyday. We often visit museums or galleries on the weekends together.


DYH : As a curator, does it make your heart dance to meet artists? Or does it disappoint you?


KK : When I meet artists who are authentic, that makes my heart dance. The types of works may be varied but there is a consistent thread and the fact that the artist continues to create—there is no anguish there. These people are always excited about what they are going to make next. Also, their thoughts are strange. But they themselves don’t consider it strange. To be disappointed is quite difficult. For that to happen you have to expect something and to have that expectation to not be met. Hmm.. when I think about it, it’s not often. It’s either: this artist stands out or they don’t.


DYH : You’ve organized many exhibitions with a variety of artists in your career, some more memorable than others. What are some things that make an exhibit a standout? In other words, what kind of results are you hoping for?


KK : My work is in contemporary art, so when the artist tries something new and that in turn is expressed in the space well, and the audience is able to find satisfaction with the experience—when all these three things align, that’s a recipe for a wonderful exhibit. 


(Photo was provided by Aki Inomata)

DYH : When things bring you down, are there any silver bullet solutions that get you out of the funk? 


KK : It’s really old fashioned but, 1) I talk and share with my partner and friends, and 2) sleep. These solutions usually work. If they don’t and the funk persists, you just have to do something. I tell myself that and force myself to move to action in some way. 


DYH : By the way, did your parents teach you that lying is bad? Is that really so? 


KK : I’ve been taught by my parents to “never ever lie''. But I lied often as a child. It was often the escape-from-reality kind of lie. In my teens someone called me out, and I was shocked but decided to make a change. Ever since, I’ve tried my best to lead a life without lying. Of course, I change words here and there, omit some details—all in the name of making daily life and work a bit smoother. But I want to be someone who does not lie, and that is important for me in order to live truly like myself. This attitude becomes a pillar of my daily life and feeds into every facet of it.


DYH : After all, is it really important to live honestly with oneself? Isn’t that such a tiresome thing? What are your thoughts? 


KK : This connects to the previous question. I think it is important to live honestly with oneself. And of course I understand how things can be difficult at times. Also, sometimes it’s hard to differentiate between the things that you want to do versus the things that others want you to do. Sometimes we think that others’ joy is our own joy. To clearly know your own feelings is hard. Perhaps we should think of it as an obstacle course? When it becomes hard to tell yourself apart from others, it means you are probably tired. Maybe that is a sign for you to take a rest. 


DYH : What are things that displease you recently? If any (laughs).


KK : There are so many things I want to do and so many things that excite me, there are not enough hours in a day. 


DYH : Sorry, we’ve become a bit pessimistic. Let’s get back to art! I bet this line of questioning is familiar: “What do you do? Oh I see a curator. What kind of curation do you do?” How do you respond to banal questions like these? Do you have a boilerplate answer? 


KK : First I say, “I am a curator of contemporary art. My job is to work with living artists to plan exhibits.” For those outside of our industry, this is enough to be understood. Industry people ask me about my field so then I answer, “Although I work with paintings, photographs, installation, video, my work mostly centers around new media or art projects or art that exists between things.” For those who work in my own field, I say, “manga, internet, sound, bio, local, disability, LGBTQ,..” When I share the range of work I’ve done they usually understand and simply say, “I see, that kind of stuff.”


DYH : As some say, “art should be open to everyone”. What are your thoughts on this? 


KK : Hmm. I thought this was self-evident. Is there a negative connotation I don’t know about? 


DYH : Shanghai, New York, Japan. What is the difference between these cities?


KK : People’s attitudes toward money differ. And this affects the art scene and market. 


DYH : As curator living in 2021, do you have any clear goals? As a matter of fact, is a goal necessary for you? 


KK : Ultimately my goal is to see to it that world peace and equality come true, but that doesn’t exactly connect to my personal goals. I think it’s more like, the more I do my work, all these things connect to it in its own way. In the short term, I just want to do interesting work! And by interesting work I mean something challenging, that allows creative freedom, and that which comes with a generous budget. If there are any clients out there that fit the bill, please give me a holler!


DYH : In one word, what is the work of a curator? 


KK : I consider myself a preacher of contemporary art. But honestly there are so many different kinds of curators in the world.


DYH : Is there any art/music/culture that had a significant impact on you in the last few years?


KK : I’ve encountered more than a few wonderful pieces, but something of significant impact? I guess that’d have to be related to a culture shock I experienced. This was when I visited Romania in 2015, I went to the place it’s called “People’s House” which had a contemporary art museum inside. Built by Ceaușescu, it is the 2nd largest building in the world. I arrived at the other side of the entrance, and had to walk 30 minutes in the blistering sun to get to the entrance. The scale of the building was beyond anything I could ever imagine. The artworks on display weren’t bad but some of the videos kept stopping and none of them had any captions. When I asked security about the work’s creator, they just brushed me off and told me, “we don’t know because the curator won’t give us any info!” I was amazed and dismayed on that day. But when I think back on it, it moves me to think how the country was able to recover enough to build a public contemporary art museum 20-some years after a revolution. It challenged my preconceptions and I was ashamed to realize how narrow my notion of “this is how a contemporary art museum should be” was. 


My visit to Shandong province in China last year also left a significant impact on me. World-class artists are creating works amidst a town that has no sewer system and with villagers living amongst livestock. It was a surreal contrast to the global contemporary art world. In addition to the world-class artworks, they were exhibiting local university students’ works as well. It was just a mix of everything. I also never want to forget that my life is also a mix of everything, and I am constantly vacillating between things.


DYH : By the way, what’s the silliest prank you’ve ever pulled?


KK : I can’t really recall anything but if there is one rule that I’ve broken, it’s to have broken into the World Expo Park at night and film a video with my husband and Tochka. 


DYH : We’re moving into slightly different territory with the questions here but, what’s the single most disgusting thing you’ve eaten? Please share the story along with it if you can.


KK : This was when I was studying in London. You know how there are times you can’t finish your homework and there’s just no time to eat? It was one of those busy days, I went to a Marks & Spencer (supermarket) at Green Park station where I usually transfer from the tube to the bus, and got a sandwich. I had two bites and gave up. Even though I was famished, I just couldn't eat it. 

But, I thought maybe the locals just have a different palette. If that's the case is it okay to call it "disgusting"?.. In any case, as an Asian student living in London, it was tough times. Food-wise. 


DYH : If you are able to change one part of your body as you see fit, what would you change and how? 


KK : I want to embed a video camera in my forehead. 


DYH : How was this interview? Apologies if it kind of went on and on. Any last words?


KK : it was a great opportunity to think about things I usually don’t think about!

アンカー 1

Kodama Kanazawa

Name : Kodama Kanazawa

What kind of curator : Contemporary art

Age (optional) :

Gender (optional) :

Website/instagram/facebook/etc… :



KK : 金澤韻(かなざわこだま)です。フリーランスの現代美術のキュレーターです。日本人で、今は上海に住んでいます。




KK : 私が好きなのは現代美術で、それは世界中の違う人間同士が、同じ今を生きているということで繋がることができる媒体です。広くて深くて最高だと思います。




KK : 日本に女性館長が少ないのは日本社会の女性蔑視をどうにかしていかないと。でも世界で活躍する日本のキュレーターが少ないのは男女に関わらずかな?キュレーターは基本、ローカルな活躍でいいと思う。現代美術はそもそもその土地の人々のためのものだから。ただ少しは架け橋になる人材がいたほうがよくて、で、確かに私はそういう人になりたいと思っています。当事者としては、引き続き頑張りますってこと以外ないですね。頑張ります!




KK : 「らしさ」っていうのは、自分を売り込むときのセールス文句に使うようなものかなと思うんだけど。そんなに世界はフラットじゃないから、「どこそこ人らしさ」は「特長」というより「逃れられない宿命」に結びついてると考えたほうがいいと思う。例えば私はアメリカに行って日本から来たというと、「あの女性蔑視のひどい社会の出身なのね、さぞ辛い思いをしてここまで生きてきたことでしょう」と憐れまれることがあった。最初はリアクションに困りました。確かに差別はひどいけど、極限まで人間性を踏みにじられた被害者として接せられると、つい「そんなにはひどくないです」と言いたくなる。でも発言の主からすると十分ひどいので、「そんなにひどくない」は言うだけ無駄、もっと憐まれてしまう。でも一方で、アメリカでジェンダー平等についての取り組みを私がすることがあれば、日本でやるよりも理解されやすいかもしれない。それをどう考えるか。





KK : キュレーターとしての日課・・・意識したことなかったですが、英語と中国語と読書はなんとか時間を作ってやってますかね。私のパートナーも現代美術が好きで、ありがたいことに折り合いをつける苦労はないです。彼とは一緒にアートマネジメントの会社をやっていることもあって、ご飯を食べながらいつも情報と意見を交換しています。週末も一緒に美術館やギャラリーを巡ることが多いです。




KK : 「ああこの人は本物だなぁ」と思う作家に会うと心が踊ります。作品のタイプはさまざまだけど、共通するのは、作り続けていくことはもうずっとその人の中では前から決まっていて、そこに苦悩はない。いま作っているものとか次に作るもののことでいつもわくわくしている。あと考えていることが変。でも本人は変だと思っていない。




KK : 作家が新しいことに挑戦できたこと、それが空間にうまく表現できたこと、オーディエンスがその体験に満足したこと、この三つが揃うと素晴らしい展示です。


(Photo was provided by Aki Inomata)



KK : すごく古典的な解決法だけど、1)パートナーや友達に話して共有する。2)いったん寝る。



KK : 親からは「嘘をついたら絶対ダメだよ」と教えられてきました。でも子供のころはけっこう嘘つきでした。現実逃避系の。10代半ばでその習慣を他人から指摘されて、衝撃を受けるとともに改心し、それ以降は嘘をつかないようにして生きてきました。もちろん、私もちょっとした言葉の言い換えとか、本当のことをぜんぶは伝えないでおくとか、その程度のことはやりますよ、仕事や日常のことをスムーズにするために。でも嘘をつかない自分でいる、ということは、自分がありのままで生きることを肯定することになるんです。




KK : ひとつ前の質問とつながっていますね。自分に正直に生きることは、私は大切だと思いますよ。ただいろいろ大変なことがあるのもわかります。あと、他人から望まれていることと、自分のやりたいことの区別がつかなくなったりすることもある。人から喜ばれることを自分の喜びだと思っちゃったりね。自分の本心がはっきりしているときの大変なことは、障害物競争だと思えばいいのかなと。人と自分の区別がつかないときは、たぶん疲れてるので、ちょっと休暇をとる必要があるかと。




KK : やりたいこと、わくわくすることが多すぎて、1日が短すぎること。




KK : 業界外の人→「いま生きている作家たちと協働して展覧会を作る仕事です」。業界内の人→「絵も写真もインスタレーションも映像もなんでも扱うけど、わりとニューメディアとかアートプロジェクトとか、モノとモノの間にある芸術の仕事が多いです」。同業者→「漫画、インターネット、サウンド、バイオ、地域、障害、LGBTQ…」と、取り組んできたレンジを言う。そうすると限界を押し広げる系だなと理解される。




KK : あれ、これは自明なものだと思っていました。私の知らない、なにか別のネガティブな意味があるのでしょうか?



KK : 人々の、お金に対する考え方が違います。それがアートシーンやマーケットにも影響しています。




KK : 究極的には世界平和とか平等の実現がゴールだと思うけど、でも自分の仕事がどーんとそのゴールに直結するわけではなく、ちまちまやっていることがちょっとずつ、なんとなく、そこに結びついていくんだろうなという感じです。短期的には、とにかく面白い仕事がしたいです。それが馬の鼻先に吊り下げられた人参のように私を走らせる(笑)*面白い仕事=チャレンジング、かつ自由度が高くて十分なバジェットがある仕事(面白いクライアントのみなさま、待ってます!)。



KK : 私自身は現代美術の伝道師だと思ってる。でもほんと、世の中にはいろんなキュレーターがいる。



KK : 素晴らしい作品はもちろんいくつも出会ったけど、「強烈なインパクト」は、カルチャーショックからやってきたと思う。例えば2015年に訪れたルーマニアで、現代美術館が入っている「国民の館」。チャウシェスクが建てた世界で2番目に広い建物で、私が到着したのは入り口の反対側だった。そこから入り口まで炎天下を30分歩いた。想像をはるかに超えた大きさだった。展示されている作品は悪くなかったけど、映像はしばしば止まっているし、キャプションはないし。「この作家はなんて人?」と監視の人に聞いても「キュレーターが情報を提供してくれないの!」で終わり。その日は驚き呆れたんだけど、革命から20数年、パブリックな現代美術館を持てるようなレベルまで、みんな頑張ったんだなぁと、あとから思って。自分の「現代美術館とはこうあるべき」という狭い了見を恥ずかしく感じた。





KK : あんまり思いつかないんだけど、記憶しているルール違反なら、トーチカと夫と一緒に、夜の万博記念公園に不法侵入して映像撮影したことかな。




KK : ロンドン留学中の話。宿題が終わらなくてごはんの時間もとれなくなる時あるよね。そういうものすごく忙しかったある日、地下鉄からバスに乗り換えるGreen Park駅で、駅にくっついてるMarks&Spencer(スーパー)でサンドイッチを買ったんだけど。ひと口食べて、食べるのをやめた。いくら空腹でもこれは食べられないと思った。





KK : 額にビデオカメラを埋め込みたい。



KK : ふだんあまり意識しないことを考える機会になって、よかったです!

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