The National Museum of Ethnology (Minpaku) is a research center for ethnology and cultural anthropology.

Seminars, Symposia, and Academic Conferences

Saturday, October 30 ~Sunday, October 31, 2010
《International Forum》Movie Screening and International Symposium The World of El Anatsui

A two-day symposium on the project “The Cult of Things: Possession, Collection and Representation” as part of Minpaku's Core Research Project"Anthropological Studies of Materiality"will take place on Saturday, October 30 and Sunday, October 31, 2010. This event is being held in conjunction with Minpaku's special exhibition “The Africa of Sculptor El Anatsui.” On the 30th, in the Minpaku Auditorium, there will be a public screening of video artist Susan Vogel's “The Art of El Anatsui,” a film which seeks to discover the secret of creativity in El Anatsui's works, followed by discussion. (Simultaneous interpretation will be provided.) On the 31st, an international symposium limited to researchers and students will be held in Seminar Room No. 4. at Minpaku. (The language used will be English.)

Art provides one of the opportunities for “objects” to have the maximum effect on human beings. Generally human beings freely create and manipulate “objects” from what is thought to be. In contrast, in the world of art such a perspective of unchallenged superiority can be reversed and objects can cause people to weep or to be moved, while objects also diverge from the beaten path to create unconventional value. Although the contemporary art world today seems to be compulsively looking inward to private worlds, El Anatsui is unique as an artist facing the world and drawing inspiration from Africa's past, and continuing to create works which reference contemporary African life and lifestyle modes. While making use of small aluminum bottle caps, corks and other everyday items, El Anatsui continues to create monumental rectangular works which measure several meters to in some work dozens of meters. He continues to be a consummate creator who independently moves beyond arbitrary categories established by the West, combining metals and cloth, art and handicrafts, modernity and tradition, history and the present, and the West and Africa.

This symposium will search the world of the art of El Anatsui for clues about how to reconsider the relationships between objects and human beings. Specifically, we expect a variety of issues to surface in the discussions, including differences between the evocative power of words and the evocative power of art, differences between art exhibitions and exhibits at ethnographic museums, possibilities and non-possibilities for collaboration between art history and anthropology, differences between representation equaling reproduction and representations of what is absent, physicality and self-consciousness. Among the guests invited from overseas in attendance will be the eminent art historian, Sylvester Ogbechie, researching from the viewpoint of whether art history is universal, and Susan Vogel, a renowned curator of art/artifact of museum and art gallery exhibitions.

Download the flyer[PDF:1.2MB]


Movie and Symposium

Saturday, October 30, 2010, 13:30 - 16:30
National Museum of Ethnology Auditorium

13:30 - 14:30 Showing of the Film "Fold Crumple Crush - the Art of El Anatsui” by Susan Vogel
14:45 - 16:30 Panel Discussion "The World of El Anatsui"
Sylvester OGBECHIE (Professor, University of California at Santa Barbara)
Susan VOGEL (Professor, Columbia University)
MIZUSAWA Tsutomu (Assistant Director, the Museum of Modern Art - Kamakura & Hayama)

In English, with simultaneous interpretation.

International Symposium
Art, Representation and the World"In the Exhibition "The Africa of Sculptor El Anatsui"

October 31, 2010 (Sunday) 10:00 - 17:00
National Museum of Ethnology, Seminar Room No. 4

10:00 - 10:10 TAKEZAWA Shoichiro (National Museum of Ethnology)
"Keynote Remarks"
10:10 - 10:50 Sylvester OGBECHIE (University of California at Santa Barbara)
"El Anatsui and Representation of Africa"
10:50 - 11:30 KAWAGUCHI Yukiya (National Museum of Ethnology)
"Beyond Art: El Anatsui's Opening of New Frontiers"
13:00 - 13:40 Susan VOGEL(Columbia University)
"Technique in the Art of El Anatsui"
13:40 - 14:20 TAKEZAWA Shoichiro (National Museum of Ethnology)
"Historical References, Viewpoints of Artists and Historians"
14:20 - 15:00 INAGA Shigemi (International Research Center for Japanese Studies) "Bricolage - Towards Sculpture"
15:20 - 17:00 Comments and General Discussion
The language used will be English.