Nurturing the arts

The FOIL gallery draws much attention in the Kyoto art scene. Its representatives are involved in gallery management and art publishing while also producing exhibitions for artists. In the following interview, FOIL’s director Mr. Takei talks about its activities:

1. Moving from Tokyo to Kyoto
Many investors in Japanese art are not from Japan. In that case, why do we have to stay in Tokyo? Kyoto has a special spirit and ambiance, with few tall buildings and a feeling of serenity. There are many galleries that make use of Kyoto machiya (townhouses), although these buildings tend to place physical limitations on exhibitions. So, I look for Kyoto venues with high ceilings that allow showings of large artworks.

2. Exhibitions in Kennin-ji (temple)
As a curator, I’ve been in charge of exhibitions at Kennin-ji for the past three or four years during Golden Week (Japan’s holiday season in early May). Thus far, I’ve produced exhibitions for Yoshitomo Nara, Rinko Kawauchi, and Syoin Kajii (whose works were just on display at the FOIL gallery during this interview). Since temple facilities must be carefully protected to avoid damage, we have to use our ingenuity when exhibiting artworks, which becomes an enjoyable challenge.

3. About Syoin Kajii
Mr. Kajii applied for the FOIL award in 2004, and I chose him. Our collaboration has continued since then. I was intrigued that he takes photos while serving in his vocation as a priest at Sado Island. Now I am his business manager, too, and have helped him publish four photography books already.

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