Kenji Sugiyama

Kenji Sugiyama (b.1962) was born in Nagoya, Japan, is a graduate (BFA, MFA) of the  Aichi University of the Arts. Sugiyama is renowned for his “peep box” artwork series, named  “I.I.M. — Institute of Intimate Museums”. I.I.M. recreates museums, libraries or institutes — public yet intimate spaces — within the small confines of a peep box. The restricted visual perception allows the viewer to experience a private viewing of the work thus and create or evoke a personal memory. Through this viewing experience, the artwork becomes an Intimate Museum for the viewer. Sugiyama’s works have been exhibited at the Nagoya City Art Museum, Oita Prefectural Art Museum, Seoul Museum of Art, Baie-Saint-Paul Museum of Contemporary Art (Canada), amongst other public institutions worldwide. Sugiyama is currently based in Nagoya. 

Private Museum of Intimacy

A map is an abstraction of a real territory; museums and galleries are maps of cultural history. The history of museums can be traced back to the “Cabinet of Curiosities” in the Renaissance, and the “Diorama” in the early 20th century. Despite its multiple forms, the idea of a museum aims at building a microscopic world that worships wonders and imagination, harbouring in microcosm obsessions about the world. Japanese artist Kenji Sugiyama has built in a paper box used for pasta packaging an exquisite classical museum, with parquet flooring, walls on which paintings hang, and even a bench for viewers to sit on. The entire exhibition hall is illuminated by the light falling through the “window”. In this mini museum, there’s only the artist’s own work and a single viewer’s eye. It is called “the private museum of intimacy”.

地図がリアルな場所の図形表現であれば、ミュージアムは歴史をなぞる縮図だと言えます。ミュージアムのはじまりは、前世紀の“覗き眼鏡”から、バロック期に流行した“驚異の部屋”まで遡ることができます。分野を問わず、いつの時代も博物館はコレクション全体がひとつのミクロコスモスを成しています。スパゲッティの空き箱に、吹き抜けの天井やモザイクフロアといった精巧なつくりの美術館を構築する杉山健司の「親密な美術館(Institute of Intimate Museums)」シリーズも、未知の宝箱だと言えます。自身が気にいる色や模様が天井・壁・床につくり込まれているだけでなく、そこは小さく複製された杉山の作品のみが展示されており、鑑賞者も一人しか収容することができません。

Kenji Sugiyama.jpg
Kenji Sugiyama museum.jpg

Exhibition Publication

In collaboration with the curators, Tokyo Gallery published a trilingual book on the occasion of this exhibition with a series of interviews with artists.