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Diffusion of Nature

Perspectives on "Nature"

Kumonodaira Villa Artist in Residence Program Exhibition

Tuesday, April 19, 2022 - Thursday, May 5, 2022 


Kurumi Wakaki


Taichi Kagami


Ken Yotsui

Kaoru Shibuta


Hanna Saito

Ayaka Tadano

Shinobu Daito

Shinjiro Watanabe

Kai Watanabe

Yuki Motita


Curator Jiro Itoh


 The Kumonodaira Villa Artist-in-Residence Program began in 2020 with the theme of designing harmony between society and nature from the site of a mountain lodge.


 The starting point of the program as a mountain lodge is our commitment to the critical conservation regime of the natural environment (national park) surrounding Kumonodaira. Historically speaking, the lifestyle culture and view of nature nurtured in the local climate rapidly declined in Japan since the Meiji era (1868-1912) as the country pushed forward with modernization inclined toward industrialization. On the other hand, in the West, where modernization was modeled after the industrial revolution, the rise of various civic movements (art movement, human rights movement, natural science, etc.) as a countermeasure to the industrial revolution fostered nature conservation values, but these did not take root in Japan, resulting in a significant hollowing out of the view of nature. Against this backdrop, national parks, which should function as symbols of coexistence with nature, have been given only the connotation of consumerist tourist destinations, and are facing a chronic existential crisis due to the failure of the system. The project was intended to bring new inspiration and possibilities to this situation.

 However, the current weak foundation of social thought on the value of nature requires a strong persuasive power. If we do not enter into a realm of universal expression that appeals to even disinterested public opinion, we will not reach anyone. Why is "nature" necessary? Is it beauty, science, or story? A clear vision is indispensable: how can we view "nature" with a sense of inevitable participation and present a standard of value, recognizing the complexities of today's global environmental crisis and the confusion of informatization, and what can the field of nature express in order to do so? The positioning of art here is not a means, but the essence. It can be said that entering into "nature" is itself art. We would like to develop our activities with this universality in mind. 


 What is "nature" really? Humanity is a form of "nature" that oscillates between the contradictory states of exercising reason and achieving prosperity over thousands of years, while excessive development threatens its own survival environment. Since the Industrial Revolution, the world's population has grown from less than one billion at the beginning of the 19th century to 7.5 billion in just 200 years, and technological innovation during that time has increased energy consumption more than 100-fold. We have come close to fundamentally changing the Earth's climate. Meanwhile, as the scale of the environmental crisis grows, ecology has become more metaphysical (or capitalist) in its abstraction, and furthermore, our dependence on rapidly developing digital systems is also alienating us from the "nature" of our own physicality. The autonomy of life has been dismantled, bringing about a decisive economic disparity and uniformity of identity, and people are struggling to defend the smallest vestiges of their lives before environmental justice. A world in which prosperity and isolation, the abundance of life, destruction and metaverse are in turbulent flux is our "nature. 

 If we want to live in abundance, we have no choice but to discover anew a world that we can (and deserve to) feel with our bodies. Sustainability is a world in which people actively desire to "stay as it is," which would not be possible without the concept of beauty and physical fulfillment. It is through this physicality that the imagination of the planet and the other people through the monitor will also function. The clue will be the sharing of place and the encounter with "nature.


 This program is an attempt to reexamine the question of "what is nature" through the experience of encountering wilderness as travelers (mediators) in the wilderness of Kumonodaira, a place isolated from human society. The works created by the artists, each of whom perceives and digests the place called Kumonohira with a different sensitivity, bear fruit in the form of diverse and fertile images, ranging from colors, shapes, sounds, and scientific considerations, to figurative and abstract. We realize that they are not only a reflection of the diversity of "nature" as an environment, but also an expression of the "nature" and "society" inherent in each individual. The question "What is nature? As we decipher this fluid dichotomy without a central axis, the complex relationship between man and nature may reveal a three-dimensional image. Nature" is a mirror reflecting mankind, and artistic expression is a mirror reflecting the "nature" within mankind. As these practices accumulate, I hope they will provide clues to recovering the self-evident reality that society has lost.

First, let us take a look at the journeys of 13 artists in their exploration of "nature.


Kurumi Wakaki

Born in Hokkaido, Japan in 1985, he graduated from Kyoto City University of Arts in 2008 with a major in printmaking, won the Grand Prize at the 12th Taro Okamoto Award for Contemporary Art in 2009, the Rokko Meets Art Meets Art Grand Prize in 2013, won the 333km Huadong Super Marathon in Taiwan in 2013, and was awarded the Kyoto City New Artist Award in 2021. He continues to wander with his undefined style, from installations that use his own body as a screen, such as "Face Taku," in which he draws a face on the shaved back of his head and transfers it onto paper, to performances that challenge the limits of his physical strength, to orthodox woodblock prints.



Born 1980 in Hyogo Prefecture. After graduating from Kyoto Saga Art College, she started working for an architectural company. 2018, she started painting under the name of soar. 2018, her works have been selected and commercialized on SNS textile design competition site. She participated in "OZ's Women's Travel Expo" as "Nagano Prefecture" in the Japan's Local Standard Open Call Exhibition, and was featured in the November issue of OZ Magazine. Through outdoor sports such as mountain climbing and snowboarding, she has been moved by the splendor of the five senses in nature, and hopes that by drawing, the relationship between nature and people will become even more deeply connected.


Taichi Kagami

Born in Kanagawa, Japan in 1993, he graduated from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music in 2020 with a degree in sculpture. He creates sculptures and photographs through the world and nature that he feels with his own body. He is also active in mountaineering and has climbed mountains in the Himalayas and Alaska. He is interested in the positive relationship between people and nature, and his work focuses on his own intense experiences of nature and the culture and history of its surroundings. He is a member of the Himalayan Camp for the 120th anniversary of the Japan Alpine Club.



Born in Shanghai in 1983, he moved to Japan when he was 8 months old.

After graduating from high school, began studying at a graphic design school and worked as a graphic designer in 2006. After retiring, he went on a working holiday and traveled abroad as a backpacker, which inspired him a lot. in his 30s, he discovered mountain climbing and began to focus on activities in nature. Various encounters and landscapes lead to his narrative works.


Ken Yotsui

Born in Kanazawa in 1962. Yuzen artist. Full member of the Japan Crafts Association. After graduating from high school, completed a 10-year apprenticeship at a yuzen dyeing studio in Kanazawa, and became an independent yuzen artist. He has been producing and selling yuzen works freely since then, and has been thinking "what can I give back to society through my yuzen work". In 2014, he received the Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education Prize for his yuzen kimono "Ryusui" at the 48th Japan Traditional Crafts Dyeing and Weaving Exhibition, and has received high acclaim.


Kaoru Shibuta

Born in 1980. Born in Hokkaido. Graduated from Kanebo Make-up Institute in 2003 and Pan Make-up School in 2000. He grew up in the nature of Hokkaido, and after working as a juvenile self-defense officer, a makeup artist, a plant store, and a chef, he began creating artwork. Since 2018, he has been participating in various art festivals such as Barcelona Art and Culture Center, Santa Monica Museum of Art, Elizabeth Jones Art Center, and Artist's He has presented his work at artist-in-residence programs around the world, including Point Meghalaya. Awards received include the 2020 Italy Arte Laguna Prize Special Prize and the SHIBUYA AWARDS2021 ShibuyaSoundMusic Award.



Born in 1983 in Aichi Prefecture, Japan, he graduated from Teikyo University of Science, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Animal Science in 2007. After graduating from graduate school, stayed in Fiji and Australia. She started her career as a cartoonist because she wanted to convey the things that shocked her during her stay in Fiji and Australia in a way that she was good at. He mainly publishes essay manga and gag manga about his travels abroad. He is also active as a professional wrestler trainee and has a match about once a year. He received honorable mentions in the 3rd and 4th "Chikyu no Arukikata Travel Comic Essay Awards. His introductory manga on mountain climbing, "Kuma Senpai to Ore," is serialized on the Internet site "YAMA HACK.


Hanna Saito

After graduating from the glass course of the Department of Crafts at Tama Art University, she joined metaPhorest, a bioart platform, and began working in the bioart field. She is currently enrolled in the doctoral program of the Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies at the University of Tokyo (Yasuaki Kakehi Laboratory). He is also engaged in research activities while creating works of art using glass modeling based on physical and chemical glass production techniques, living organisms, organic materials, and other materials. In recent years, he has been collecting and cultivating several species of wild slime molds for his production and research. His main themes are reconsidering the distinction between nature/society and human/non-human, and the inseparability of the artist and the object of expression. Major exhibitions include "Non-Human Control" (TAV GALLERY, 2020), "Jack-in Exhibition to Ecosystem" (Mihamaen, 2021), and "Open Space 2021 New Flatland" (ICC, 2021-2).


Ayaka Tadano

Born in Miyagi, Japan in 1992, she graduated from Musashino Art University, Department of Japanese Painting, Faculty of Art and Design in 2016, and completed her graduate degree in Art Education at Tokyo University of the Arts, Graduate School of Art and Design in 2018. She paints landscapes on Kozo paper using Japanese painting materials such as iwa-enogu and glue. While nothing remains the same, such as landscapes and days, she tries to paint new landscapes by picking up traces and hopes, knowing the beautiful shapes and expressions of this world. 2014 Mitsubishi Corporation Art Gate Program Scholarship Student, Shell Art Award 2016 Honorable Mention, 2017 Ataka Prize of Tokyo University of the Arts, 23rd Seiryosha. Florence Grand Prize at the Florence Prize Exhibition, FACE2022 Yomiuri Shimbun Award, solo exhibitions, and many other activities.


Shinobu Daito

1993 Born in Aichi, Japan

2019 Completed graduate studies at Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts and Music

2022: Graduate Assistant at Akita Public University of Fine Arts and Music

Interested in human life and the inescapable, he creates charcoal drawings and film works using "narrative landscapes" that leave traces of human life and the inescapable as clues.

He is also a bon dance enthusiast and writer. He draws the human strongholds that are exposed in festivals and folk customs as if to record them as another narrative landscape. His solo exhibition is "Trembling Dance" at Arts Challenge Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art in 2019.


Shinjiro Watanabe

Born 1995 in Aichi, Japan. 2021 PhD student at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. He creates works through dialogue with the scenery and events that emerge through immersion in a space or place. Based on the idea that our human body is made up of both animal and vegetable aspects, he aims to draw out the vegetable nature within us through his works, and to achieve a spirituality as a universal creature. Major exhibitions include "Dyadic Stem" (The 5th Floor, 2020), "2020¦¦: Wardian case :¦¦" (BLOCK HOUSE, 2020), and "Standing Ovation / Where the Limbs Go" (ACAO SPA & RESORT, 2021).


Kai Watanabe

Born in Chiba, Japan in 1986.

Started playing classical guitar at the age of 10. While a student at the Manhattan School of Music in New York, he was drawn to the field of creative (Nordoff-Robbins) music therapy, where sound is used in an improvisational and clinical manner. Since then, he has traveled extensively in Japan and abroad, and continues to perform with the question of "what it means to truly connect with people" at the center of his contemplation.


Yuki Motita

Born in 1989, he graduated from the Department of Sociology at Meiji Gakuin University in 2012, and began his career as a photographer. In 2016, he won the Grand Prix of the "TOKYO FRONTLINE PHOTO AWARD #5" and in 2017, his photo book "OBLIQUE LINES" was published by the Italian publishing house "L`. Published as part of the "ARTIERE EDIZIONI" collection. He continues his production activities by organizing independent solo and group exhibitions and participating in special exhibitions.


Events during the exhibition

・April 23 (Sat) 15:00-17:00 Artist Talk


・April 24 (Sun) 17:00-19:00 Guest Talk 

  Guest: Shinji Miyadai, sociologist 

  *Reservations required (see official website, Twitter, Instagram for details)


・Friday, April 29, 15:00-17:00 Artist Talk



Tuesday, April 19, 2022 - Saturday, April 30, 2022
No break during the period of this Exhibition

Opening Hours

13:00-20:00 (Last day 11:00-15:00)


The 5th Floor: Hanazono Alley 5F 3-3-9 IkenohataTaito-ku Tokyo

HB.Nezu: 2-6-12-201, Ikunohata, Taito-ku, Tokyo


The 5th Floor:4 minutes walk from Exit 2 of Nezu Station (Chiyoda line)

HB.Nezu: 2 minutes walk from Exit 2 of Nezu Station (Chiyoda line)

Entrance fee

¥500​  including a book fee*

※Students are Free


Jiro Itoh


AND DESIGN INC./Mayumi Kawara/Watanabe Dental Office





Kumonodaira villa


The 5th Floor






​The 5th

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