Japanese expert set to brighten up Shanghai's CBD

By Wang Kaihao ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-09-20 08:06:47

Japanese expert set to brighten up Shanghai's CBD

[Photo provided to China Daily]

Fram Kitagawa believes that fine art is not independent of ordinary people's lives. In 1994, the 70-year-old Japanese exhibition curator changed Tachikawa, an abandoned military area on the outskirts of Tokyo, into an experimental art zone.

That year, he brought the FARET Tachikawa project to the small town of seven blocks, attracting 92 artists from 36 countries and regions. The project saw more than 100 public art pieces blended into the urban landscape.

This example has been copied around the world.

Kitagawa, chairman of the Tokyo-based Art Front Gallery, tells China Daily: "I prefer to involve many artists to get different perspectives. They are not here to create a single monument, which emphasizes uniform values."

Now, he has a goal in China: To create the world's most important public art zone in Lujiazui, the heart of Shanghai's central business district.

Over the year 2017-18, 43 outdoor public-art pieces are to be created in a new business area in Lujiazui, which covers more than 250,000 square meters, says Kitagawa, who is the art director of the project.

Speaking about Shanghai, Kitagawa, who recently visited Beijing to deliver a lecture at Tsinghua University, says: "Since its opening up as an international harbor nearly 180 years ago, the city has always been a hub for different cultures due to cross-border communication and trade."

Kitagawa says that 15 spots have been reserved for "renowned" artists, while the rest are open for applicants.

The deadline for applications is the end of this month, but Kitagawa says he has already received proposals from artists from around 60 countries and regions.

"The project in Lujiazui has an international flavor and will use artists to create a public space, which has deep cultural connotations," he says.

"Public art is to let people experience different ways of life in one lifetime, just like reading."

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