photo by Takeru Koroda


Kyoto City University of Arts Relocation Commemorative Program
President's Office Mural Removal Project (Phase 1)

Still Moving Final: Utsushi no Manazashi

This October, Kyoto City University of Arts will make the long-awaited move to its new campus on the east side of JR Kyoto Station. Looking ahead to this, Kyoto City University of Arts Art Gallery @KCUA has held a program of events and exhibitions, including the still moving series. For the final iteration of the series, this project will remove the mural in the president’s office on the Kutsukake campus, and consider approaches to how we preserve and utilize a university’s artistic resources.

Since before recorded history to the present, people have created art on the walls of the spaces in which communities lived. Even after the emergence of movable paintings, artists continued to make murals for a wide range of reasons. This project interprets these murals—a form of expression found throughout human activity since long ago—as examples of time-based media, and attempts to reconsider and expand the possibilities of murals today through disassembly, relocation, and reconstruction.

The fresco painting in the Kutsukake campus president’s office was made by the artist Satoshi Kawata in collaboration with people from the university in the second semester of 2015. Seven years on from its completion, this mural will be transported to the new campus by employing the technique of strappo (a way of safely detaching a fresco) to remove only the uppermost pigment-bearing layer of the wall, and then relocating the work to Art Gallery @KCUA in Horikawa-Oike, transferring it to a new support, and so converting the painting into a movable state. Part of the mural will be removed along with the wall itself and preserved as an archive of the Kutsukake campus.

Kawata has used this strappo technique many times to create works exploring the possibilities of the mural. At the exhibition Utsushi no Manazashi, held last year at Art Gallery @KCUA, he engaged with historical examples of copied works and continued his explorations of the meaning of reproduction (utsushi) and transference (also utsushi). For this project, Kawata has received assistance from the conservator Kaori Taguchi and looked back again at the history of wall paintings and traditional methods of restoring or removing them, proceeding with the task of detaching the mural from the wall in the office and transferring it to its new location all while re-examining his own practice until now. Following on from last year’s exhibition, the filmmaker Tatsuki Katayama has also attempted to make a filmed reflection (utsushi) focusing on the relationship between the materiality of the mural itself and Kawata’s body, and capture on moving image the intersection of past, present, and future during the production and transfer process.

Taking place at Art Gallery @KCUA in Horikawa-Oike, the first part of the exhibition lets visitors see the work of restoring and reconstructing the mural for the relocation as well as various archival materials related to the mural. In addition, visitors can view the mural Kawata created for last year’s Utsushi no Manazashi exhibition that was subsequently detached by strappo and footage documenting this. The second part of the exhibition will be held at the new campus after the move, and will feature the mural following its reconstruction and conversion to an exhibitable state, as well as footage documenting the project. As the entirety of the university’s collection of artistic resources moves to a new location alongside the functions of the university, this ongoing project is unfolding while reflecting on how the removal and transfer of a mural changes the meaning of an artwork originally created for a specific site.

(Translated by William Andrews)

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Satoshi Kawata
Kyoto City University of Arts Art Gallery @KCUA
@KCUA 1, 2
2023.8.19 Sat.2023.9.18 Mon.
Curated by
Kyoto City University of Arts Art Gallery @KCUA
Organized by
Kyoto City University of Arts
With the cooperation of
Kaori Taguchi
Yoshifumi Maekawa
Kiyokazu Washida
Spice Curry Izon
Filmed and Edited by
Tatsuki Katayama
Photography by
Takeru Koroda

Kyoto City University of Arts Art Gallery
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