Yoshiaki Kaihatsu

Solo Exhibition

Kaihatsu Rediscovering, Vol. 1 - Early Video Works

Saturday, October 19, 2019 - Saturday, November 9, 2019

Reception for the artist: 18:30 – 20:00, Saturday, October 19

Performance event: 19:00 – 19:30, Saturday, October 19
*Admission Free

Gallery hours : 11:00 – 18:00, 11:00 – 20:00 (Fri)
Closed on Sun., Mon., and National Holidays

1998, Video, 15min 25sec

©︎Yoshiaki Kaihatsu


We are pleased to inform you that ANOMALY will be holding “Kaihatsu Rediscovering, Vol. 1 – Early Video Works,” a solo exhibition by Yoshiaki Kaihatsu, from Saturday, October 19 to Saturday, November 9.

Born in 1966, Yoshiaki Kaihatsu received his master’s degree in art from Tama Art University Graduate School in 1993, and has been energetically producing works ever since his student days. He has held numerous solo exhibitions and taken part in many group exhibitions in Japan and other countries. He was selected for the TARO Award in 2001 and participated in the 9th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 2004. He attracted keen attention for his iconic styrofoam series in particular.
Kaihatsu has produced many works while outside Japan, in cities including New York and Berlin. He was an artist-in-residence at Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin in 2004, and showed works at ZKM in Karlsruhe, Germany in 2005 and the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin in 2006. He held a big solo exhibition titled “Middle School Year 2 Disease” at the Ichihara Lakeside Museum in Chiba Prefecture in 2016. Works he made from the 1990s to the present have been shown in this exhibition on large scales utilizing both indoor and outdoor space. Capturing the fancy of many art lovers, his humorous creations and activities have been taken up at art festivals such as Rokko Meets Art (Hyogo Prefecture), Echigo-Tsumari Earth Art Festival (Niigata Prefecture), and Ichihara Art x Mix (Chiba Prefecture). At the exhibition “Now, it’s time to play” currently being held at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, he is showing large installation work and also presenting a performance disguise himself as “Kiba’s Lazy Panda.”

In the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake that struck in 2011, Kaihatsu started the “Daylily Art Circus” by loading artworks onto a truck and visiting various communities affected by the earthquake to link residents by means of art. Similarly, in response to the catastrophe at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, he built a rest facility named “The Politicians’ House” in the city of Minami-Soma and continued to send invitations to politicians, asking them to come to the affected area and think about Japan’s future. Before these projects as well, he produced works that dealt with Monju, the fast-breeder reactor plant where a sodium leakage accident occurred in 1995, and the 2001 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States. As these examples evidence, a serious concern about incidents in and the shape of our society has been one of the key pillars of his artistic production.

Owing to his vast corpus of works and diversity of approaches, it would be no easy task to present an overall picture of the artist, which is something that Kaihatsu himself could be viewed as deliberately trying to avoid. To take another look at his career, we have consequently decided to present a collection of his early video works for this exhibition. While residing in New York with a grant from the Asian Cultural Council in 1998, Kaihatsu created performance works by a simple “one-cut, one-action” procedure. He made it a rule to exclude all emotion and narrative content as far as possible, and to perform only an act he had determined in advance. One of the works he created on the basis of this rule is “Roll.” In it, he continues to somersault forward against the background of the World Trade Center targeted in the 9/11 attacks. How does the site of such a momentous event that happened to be incorporated into the work appear in the eyes of viewers today? Behind simple acts there sometimes lie things that have a complexity and stand in contrast to those acts.
Quoting the “Ten Poems for Transposition” by literary critic Takaaki Yoshimoto, Osamu Ikeda, Director of Bank ART 1929, has called Kaihatsu a “one-person democracy.” He may be termed a rare artist who puts the doings of an individual solidly at the foundation of his art and continues to confront society and the people who are living in it, all with a streak of humor.

This exhibition is a golden opportunity to see important early works by Yoshiaki Kaihatsu, who has remained in vigorous action since the 1980s.


In June 1992, I headed for Documenta IX in Germany.

This is an international exhibition held once every five years. I learned of it froman art magazine.
Jan Hoet, the chief curator, had also exhibited in Japan,and this made it seem easier for me to go.

Partly because it is held once every five years, I got the impression that it was the Olympics of the art world. To go out in a blaze of glory on an international stage to which
I had not even been invited, I dressed up like an angel, pasted video works to my body, and stayed on the site for about six hours a day, every day, for two weeks. My objective was to be excluded. I wanted to make exclusion from a world-class stage into my point of departure as an artist.

Nevertheless, for better or worse, I continued to do my performance every day without provoking any anger, and even Hoet finally dropped in and took a look at my performance. The visitors assumed that my performance inside the museum was the doing of a participating artist.
On a pedestal I held, I placed a stack of cards on which I had written “I am your toy. My name is Kaihatsu.” Anyone was free to take one.The cards reflected my desire to keep making works near you.

This was my start as an artist.

A few years later, I went to New York, which I had long wanted to visit.
The city scared me at first. I would come back to my room by around 8 at night, quavering at the sounds of sirens and cracking noises of indeterminate origin.
After a few weeks, I began to venture out at night, around 9. I encountered a child taking a dog for a walk, and realized it was surprisingly safe.
As I recall, I came back to Japan after not doing anything in particular there for a long time. But when going through materials for this exhibition, I discovered that I had put together one performance a month, and making installations, or other works during my stay.

On the screen was footage of the New York atmosphere (which was then still prickly although I thought I had come too late at the time) and a performance by myself as an artist, full of aspiration for no good reason.
Watching it brought those days poignantly back to me. While things I had thought would continue unchanged have disappeared, videos portray their times, like it or not.


Yoshiaki Kaihatsu
September 20, 2019


*In conjunction with Kohei Kobayashi Solo Exhibition