今回のJapan Societyでのラジカリズム展でArt In Amerikaから書面インタビューを受けました。以下掲載します。なお翻訳は同展のキューレーターである富井玲子さんです。冊子はすでに発行されました。冊子の記事は１ページになっています。
Art in America – Backstory
Questions for Horikawa Michio
For your visibility:
Your question is bolded
followed by its Japanese translation
Horikawa’s answer is painted in yellow, signaled by “A:”
followed by its English translation, also signaled by “A:”
Translator’s note is sprinkled throughout, where deemed necessary.
If you have any contextual questions, I can answer it.
Translated by Reiko Tomii
- How did you meet fellow GUN member Maeyama Tadashi? Can you share some memories about your time as students together, and later art teachers?
A: I entered Takada High School in 1960. Immediately after that, I decided to join the art club. Maeyama was one year senior to me, but he also joined the club at the same time.
One memory from our high-school years is the club’s sketching trip to Hiuchiyama mountain from Sasagamine camp field. Maeyama was good at funny jokes and impersonation; he would often make us laugh and he was very popular among the club members.
I entered Niigata University and studied the “middle school art/oil painting” course at the university’s Takada Branch. The same school/course as Maeyama. (translator’s note: both Maeyama and Horikawa were born and raised in Takada). In my sophomore year, I began to paint abstractions and submitted them to the Niigata Prefecture Art Exhibition.
In this year, my classmate, Oguri Tsuyoshi (from Tajimi city, Gifu prefecture) received a “prefecture exhibition prize” at his first try. I was so stunned.
Maeyama, now in the junior year, also produced numerous abstractions. One of them received the highest prize at the Itoigawa City Exhibition, which stunned me too. A judge was Ōoka Makoto (a poet and critic based in Tokyo).
Having prize-recipients in my circle, I was very much inspired.
A: In the following year, I was in my junior year, and I joined the recipients circle, receiving the second highest price at the Niigata Prefecture Art Exhibition.
Maeyama, in his senior year now, had a solo exhibition at Runami Gallery in Tokyo, through which he learned a lot, experienced a lot.
Upon his return from his first solo exhibition in Tokyo, Maeyama’s style turned toward Pop Art. Together with his classmates, me, and some of my classmates, Maeyama began to experiment with group exhibitions.
In March 1967, Maeyama graduated from school and hired as an art teacher at a nearby middle school. This year, he had his second solo exhibition at Runami Gallery. He began to incorporate glass and mirrors in his works. Also he stage a Happening show in Takada (perhaps the first of this kind in Niigata prefecture).
Subsequently, for the formation of GUN (Group Niigata Ultra), Maeyama played a leadership role. In October 1967, GUN was established. I participated in the group (I decided to undertake “artist’s activities” while begin an art teacher.)
- What was it like teaching middle school art in Niigata? Can you talk about about your early career as a teacher? How long did you teach for?
(Translator’s note: I only translated parts in bold to get a sense of his teaching career. In short, Horikawa was very active in developing new materials and teaching methodologies).
A: Maeyama incorporated original ideas into his classroom teaching. I was inspired by his example and we staged an exchange exhibition that presented works created by our respective students. (I was hired as an art teacher one year after Maeyama).
I attended a study group of art education, where I frequently started discussion concerning new teaching materials and methods, a new syllabus departing from the established one.
Throughout my tenure as an art teacher, I annually continued to [attend the study group] and give presentations on my research and practice to fellow art teachers. My main concern was the development of new teaching materials.
A: From 1968, I taught at middle school for 30 years.
A: I first visited the U.S. in 1988, when I had an exchanged with an art education organization in the state of Indiana and participated in their conference.
I had exchange with Prof. Mason, a British person, who came to research at Jōetsu Teacher’s University.
(Translator’s note: the city of Takada became the city of Jōetsu in a municipal reorganization, don’t ask me when, though).
A: Thereafter (after 30 years of teaching), I was vice principle for 5 years and principle for 8 years at various middle schools. During these years, I gave a keynote as Research Head of Niigata Prefecture Art Educators’ Research Conference in 1995; and President of Jōetsu Art Educators’ Federation for 2 years.
- How did you decide to select stones from the Shinano River bed in particular? How did your students react to this activity/assignment? Were you teaching them about mail art in class?
A: 1968年10月に関根伸夫の「位相 大地」など。新しい表現の地平を感受。
A: I felt a new horizon of expression, seeing Sekine Nobuo’s Phase: Mother Earthin October 1968 and subsequently other works.
In the 1969 Mainichi Contemporary exhibition, there are many works incorporating natural materials.
In 1969, I saw Takamatsu Jirō’s work using stones, in art magazine Bijutsu techō.
The Shinano River was located some 300 meters from my school, just less than 10 minutes of walking from my school. There spread a wonderful dry riverbed that made us feel a vast presence of nature.
The idea of picking stones occurred to me while Apollo 11 was flying to the moon. 4 days before the moon landing. July 17, Japan time. (translator’s note: because of time difference between US and Japan, the moon landing took place in the morning of July 21, Japan time; night of July 20, US time).
The class was a part of “learn through experience” method. “To gather earth stones,” at the exact same cosmic time of gathering moon rocks upon the first human moon exploration. Together with my students, I too collected, while listening to the radio reporting the historic event.
Mail art was not part of my class. Mail art (sending the collected stones) was the work of Horikawa.
- What kind of reaction did you get from the workers at the post office?
A: I was once told, “You an art guy (art teacher) do an interesting thing.”
- Can you talk a bit about "kokeshi mail" and how this inspired your experiments in mail art?
A: I had seen no example of “kokeshi mail” before then, but I had heard about it before, so I knew how to make a kokeshi parcel. I applied this method to my stones and it worked.
(I thought it was not interesting to wrap the stone with paper, etc. I thought staging a “Mail Happening.”)
- Can you share some details about the feedback you got from various critics/artists who received stones from you?
A: ハガキに自筆で書いた領収書を送ってくれた。（南画廊 清水楠男）
A: Shimizu Kusuo of Minami Gallery sent me a postcard as a handwritten receipt
Art critic Akatsuka Yukio send me two special receipts.
Artost-theorist Lee Ufan reproduced my stone with a comment in November 1969 issue of Bijutsu techō.
Art critic Tōno Yoshiaki had it reproduced as in the April 1970 issue of general interest magazine Chūō kōron. (The stone was on a book shelf of his study)
Art critic Nakahara Yūsuke invited to me to show my work at Tokyo Biennale 1970: Between Man and Matterin 1970.
Artist Murakami Yoshio requested that I send him a stone and I obliged.
Former chief editor of Bijutsu techōMiyazawa Yoshitake has carefully preserved two stones that I sent him for the past 50 years.
Asahi, Yomiuri, and Mainichi newspapers ran my story in their social interest pages.
- How did you get involved in the mail art collective Psychophysiology Research Institute?
A: Through introduction of Maeda Jōsaku, an artist who then taught at Tokyo Zōkei University.
(Together with Maeyama, I visited Maeda at his studio in Tokyo. Subsequently, I met with him several times, including when Maeda came as a judge of Itoigawa City Art Exhibition, I met with him. I exchanged letters with Maeda.
(Translator’s note: the two instigators of Psychophysiology Research Institute, Ina Ken’ichirō and Takeda Kiyoshi were students of Tokyo Zōkei University studying under Maeda Jōsaku. The mail art collective was began as their class project.)
- Was this the first time you sent a stone to an American recipient? How did you choose President Nixon?
A: Nixon was the supreme commander of Vietnam War (as commander in chief) and Apollo Missions (as the head of the US). He was an ideal person as my first contribution, thinking that his visibility should give visibility to the new collective mail art project.
- Where did Nixon's stone come from, and how/why did you choose it?
A: The stone was carried by the Shinano River, the longest river in Japan, to the Chūjō area in the city of Tōkamachi. I recall it was black slate. Black is the color of protest used in the anti-Vietnam war movement and other protests. The total weight (including the stone) was 990 grams.
- Do you recall where exactly this photo was taken—in what city/town was the post office located, how did the clerk react? Do you recall how much it cost at the time to mail to the White House?
A: Tōkamachi Post Office in Niigata prefecture. When I sent the stone to Nixon, I used that post office for the first time. I recall I explained a bit to a clerk, but he accepted the stone, asking no question. He carefully prepared the shipping slip, the kind not used today any longer.
The shipping cost was 1310 yen.
- How long until you got a letter back from the embassy?
A: This mail art was reported in Yomiuri Newspaper, on January 8, 1970.
I received a thank-you note from American Embassy, dated January 23. So perhaps I received it January 25 or so.
- Do you have any additional recollections or memories about the Nixon mail art project, or your work in mail art in general?
A: When I began working on contemporary art, my first goal was to make original works that would impact on people nationwide.
My mail art series was considerably well received from the beginning. After three decades, it was again critically recognized, invited to several international exhibitions. It was a success.
It is an important moment in my young days and it is a landmark in my life.