In the 1990s, contemporary art in Asia has become a favorite
subject of international art exhibitions.
Never before has Asian art risen so prominently in exhibitions
worldwide; such post-modern tendencies as globalism, post-colonialism,
regionalism, and gender-ism certainly helped the trend.
It is truly an unprecedented phenomenon.
The rise of Asian art gives us a great hope for the coming
21st century: the end of Western-centered world history that
has been written through this century.
However, can we expect that that this hope, embodied in
the ascendance of Asia art, will be carried on with little difficulty
into the next century ?
I wonder if we see our times with too much apprehension
to answer to the question positively.
Especially troublesome is the fact that the rise of Asia
toward the end of century has still left many blank areas in
the representation of regions and peoples.
"Northeastern Asia," to describe it roughly,
is one such area.
Though close to Japan historically and geographically,
Northeastern Asia has been excluded from the waves of cultural
exchanges, lagging in historically obscurity.
Niigata has been a geographical window to Northeastern
Asia in the past as well as the at the present.
It is inevitable that Niigata should have a cultural exchange
with Northeastern Asia.
Asia that we have out yet fully familiarized ourselves
with, Asia that has experienced a discontinuity of modernity
despite a history extending to ancient times, Asia that at once
embraces the past and looks forward to walking into the future
with the rest of the world-in which we see numerous new hopes
and anxieties emerging.