As Japan’s Asahi Shimbun news reports, the section of the Aichi Triennale entitled “After ‘Freedom of Expression?,’” which was previously closed over a controversial sculpture depicting a Korean “comfort woman,” has reopened with limited access. A lottery system has been imposed to view the section. On the first day it was reopened, just sixty people got to view the section for a strictly limited amount of time, out of seven hundred people who applied for the lottery. Check out an excerpt from the article below.
Various security measures were taken for the reopened exhibit, including the use of a metal detector at the entrance. The lottery winners were also required to sign statements promising not to photograph any parts of the exhibit or post messages about the displays on social media.
Prospective visitors were also given a copy of an interim report by a committee looking into why the exhibit was suspended.
Fifteen other artists, citing the right to freedom of expression, withdrew their own exhibits from the triennale as an act of protest over the suspension of “After ‘Freedom of Expression?’” They put their exhibits back on display on Oct. 8.
During the exhibit’s 66-day hiatus, the Agency for Cultural Affairs decided to withhold 78 million yen ($724,000) in already-approved subsidies for the art festival, citing “inappropriate procedural measures” by organizers. The decision drew criticism that the central government was endorsing censorship of art displays it did not like.
Aichi Governor Hideaki Omura, who also heads the Aichi Triennale 2019 organizing committee, said at a news conference on Oct. 7 that he wanted to resume the exhibit to avoid setting a bad precedent of bending to pressure from those who take offense over the contents of artworks.
Image: People line up at the Aichi Arts Center on Oct. 8 to enter the lottery to view the reopened section of the Aichi Triennale. Via the Asahi Shimbun.