Julia Lohmann

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Japan

Sunday, November 25th, 2007

Submersed in Sapporo

On a location visit to the building which will house our final exhibition, we discover a hidden apartment including a tatami room and adjoining bath. It is empty apart from a few newspapers dating back to the 1960s. We are speechless when we discover how the bath was heated – with a giant submersion heater! (see below) Later that day we finalise the exhibition layout at Cafe Zill, a cozy local hideaway with lots of lumberjack charm.

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The infamous submersion heater…

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…and how it is used.

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Cafe Zill

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What else did we see today? A pet shop which looked more like a dachshund dispenser, selling dogs like fashion accessories…

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…and a shop selling canine lingerie.

Saturday, November 24th, 2007

Studio Interview at the ICC, Sapporo

Tonight I was interviewed in my ICC studio as part of a documentary about S-AIR. The camera team was made up of Nina Fischer and Maroan el Sani’s students whose energy and enthusiasm is truly amazing.

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The S-AIR/ICC studio interview

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Snow has arrived in Sapporo

Thursday, November 22nd, 2007

Artist Talk at Sapporo City University

Today I was invited to speak about my work and experiences as an S-AIR artist in residence to students and staff at Sapporo City University. The talk is part of a lecture series organised by S-AIR, the ICC and the university and was filmed by the media art students of the filmmaker duo Nina Fischer and Maroan el Sani. It was great to be able to present my work to a non-Western audience and respond to their questions. A big thank you for the invitation and also to my untiring interpreter Rie Watanabe, without whose linguistic expertise I would have been quite lost.

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Sunday, November 18th, 2007

Back in Sapporo

Full of new impressions from our three-week journey through Japan we arrive in Sapporo. A cold drizzle hits us as we step off the plane, quite a change from the subtropical warmth of Iriomote and bright autumn sunshine in Kyoto. The city is getting ready for snow and we are getting ready to set up the final exhibition of the three-month art residency.
It is good to be back.

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Sapporo snow shovels – function meets fashion

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A view along the river on our way to the studio.

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The installation concept begins to take shape…

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…and materials start to pile up in my S-AIR studio.

Friday, November 16th, 2007

Naoshima

The contrast between our present location and Koyasan could not be greater. Naoshima is an island dedicated to contemporary art. It is home to the museum/hotel/spa complex of the Benesse foundation and the Chichu Art Museum. Both buildings were designed by Tadao Ando.

The Benesse House and Benesse House Annex could easily have been the setting of a James Bond movie. The three main buildings are set into a hillside with the top part, called the Oval, only accessible via a small monorail. Benesse hotel guests can roam the art collection until 11pm before retiring to their rooms located conveniently inside the museum.

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Chichu Art Museum is a collection of minimalist underground spaces custom-designed for the works of art they contain. They are lit entirely by natural light and provide a gallery experience unlike any we’ve ever had. The artists on show are Walter de Maria, Claude Monet and James Turrell. Near the museum is the Chichu garden planted with the same plant species as those found in Monet’s Giverny garden. Photography of the buildings is not allowed but they have a great website that gives information in English and shows the work: http://www.chichu.jp

Dotted around Naoshima’s Miyanoura Port are various buildings belonging to the Art House project. Some draw on traditional Japanese architecture for inspiration while this one is built using local reclaimed materials.

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Last but not least, there are many sculptures along the shore of the Inland Sea, the most famous being the red and yellow pumpkins by Yayoi Kusama.

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