Aichi Triennale re-opened thanks to the artists’ and curators’ efforts

31 January 2020

Aichi Triennale 2019. A visitor reads an open letter signed by nine artists alleging censorship at the Aichi Triennale. Photo. AFP_The Yomiuri Shimbun.jpg
Aichi Triennale 2019. A visitor reads an open letter signed by nine artists alleging censorship at the Aichi Triennale. Photo: AFP / The Yomiuri Shimbun


Following previous statements made regarding the 2019 Aichi Triennale and the closure of the exhibition After ‘Freedom of Expression?' CIMAM would like to note the commendable actions of the artists, supported by the curators, who effectively worked to restore the autonomy of the Triennale from political pressure, securing the reopening of the exhibition.

Collectively the community of artists and curatorial team, created an open platform for free and vigorous discussion of the issues raised by the closure of the exhibition, expanding this debate into the public realm through an active education programme, as well as working proactively to address the operational issues the exhibition faced. Their efforts to secure this reopening, even for a short period of six days before the scheduled closing date, reflect the symbolic importance of the exhibition reopening as a statement of opposition to political pressure.

CIMAM commends all of those involved in addressing this complex and challenging situation, recognizing the reopening of the exhibition After ‘Freedom of Expression?' as a positive example for the international art community of resistance to political pressure and censorship through responsible collective action by the artistic community that foregrounds open debate and a public defense of artistic freedom. The Aichi Triennale case actively demonstrates the significance of education programmes and public debate within the contemporary art field. The events surrounding the Aichi Triennale are a reminder to all international museum professionals of the complex society within which we operate and the importance of deep and engaged dialogue with the wide range that stakeholders that intersect in different ways with our contemporary art programmes.

CIMAM, notes however, with deep concern the continued withholding of funding for the Aichi Triennale 2019 by the Japanese state Agency for Cultural Affairs (ACA). In its statement of October 10, 2019, CIMAM questioned the Agency’s reasons for withholding the grant and called on the Agency for Cultural Affairs to restore its grant to the Aichi Triennale 2019. CIMAM restates this call as a matter of urgency.

31 January 2020

The CIMAM Board’s Museum Watch Committee is made up of Bart De Baere, Calin Dan, Sarah Glennie, Malgorzata Ludwisiak, Victoria Noorthoorn, Eugene Tan.

CIMAM – International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art – is an Affiliated Organisation of ICOM – International Council of Museums.

For further reference

CIMAM Statements

CIMAM questions the decision of the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs
to withhold the funding granted to the Aichi Triennale 2019. 10 October 2019.

Deep concern at cancellation of the exhibition “After ‘Freedom of Expression?’”
27 August 2019.

Biennale Foundation

Aichi Triennale Tests The Limits Of Freedom Of Expression In Japan.
15 November 2019.

CIMAM open letter to the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs

Letter to Miyata Ryohei. 10 October 2019.