Fukutake Foundation is a Founding Patron of CIMAM since 2000. CIMAM is immensely thankful to the Fukutake family, for their long-term commitment to CIMAM. A sponsorship that began with Mr. Soichiro Fukutake 20 years ago and that continues today with his son, Mr. Hideaki Fukutake. We are honored to have patrons with such strong values and projects as the Fukutake Foundation. We share the conviction of a world where contemporary art and museums actively contribute to its improvement. We are pleased to bring to the attention of CIMAM members the commitment to contemporary art and museums and the vision behind the support to CIMAM and Benesse Art Site Naoshima through the words of Mr. Hideaki Fukutake.
What is your activity's nature, and through what actions and projects are you linked to the world of culture and art?
Simply put, the nature of our activities is to present a new perspective to the world. Many situations demand that we think and act with an awareness of the problems that lie within existing values and behaviors. This can be said to be how much one can put a brake on growth and efficiency.
In Kyushu, Japan, there is a passenger train called "The Seven Stars", which is a train that pursues "how to run slowly" as opposed to "how to arrive at the destination quickly and efficiently", which is the essence of transportation. Running at a leisurely and relaxed pace changes the scenery, allowing the passenger to discover things they would not have noticed before. This includes the lush scenery and lifestyles of the people along the railway, leading to novel aesthetics born from a new perspective on trains.
Benesse Art Site Naoshima, our art project on small islands in the countryside sea of Japan, can be called truly inconvenient and inefficient. To visit the island, one must go through multiple transits, including plane, bus, train, or ferry rides. However, by combining the leisurely time that was spent traveling to the island, the aesthetics born from the emotion during the journey, and the physical beauty of the art/architecture landscape of Benesse Art Site Naoshima, we present new values and aesthetics and broaden the world's perspective.
Through art and culture, we are striving to expand possibilities sideways rather than moving humanity forward.
The Setouchi Triennale is an art festival held once every three years. Through the twelve participating islands, the Setouchi Triennale creates a gentle flow of people, digging up the traditions and history slumbering within each island from new perspectives, and conveying it to the next generation. We believe in the importance of taking the initiative while considering what kind of culture it will leave for the next and future generations. The festival is also noteworthy because many of the artworks displayed during the period persist in the area. They remain permanent, blending in with the area and continuing to forge connections with the community.
What are your company's values, mission, and vision, and at what level does modern and contemporary art intervene as a channel or platform to communicate your value proposition?
We provide lifelong support for our every customer's motivation to improve and solve problems in the fields of education, long-term care, childcare, and lifestyle based on the philosophy of Benesse (well-being). Through our projects and art activities, we aim to become an indispensable existence for the community and society under the concept of "being happier as we age" and " using what exists to create what is to be"." It is our mission to create a future of well-being for a society of well-being.
Modern and contemporary art plays a key role as a medium amid our activities. Being a medium, it is capable of intervening with all sorts of layers.
Art connects the region to the rest of the world, drawing many foreign guests to Naoshima Island.
Art acts as the bridge between generations, inviting the city youths to the island and creating opportunities to interact with its aging residents.
Art brings creators together, giving birth to collaborations between artists, architects, and landscapers.
However, we do not confine art to intentional roles. The same piece of art can be perceived in various ways depending on the viewer, and the same viewer can come to different realizations when visiting the island multiple times. As such, we leave it to the viewer's autonomy. By leaving a margin, we hope art itself will become a living medium, something people will see as continually changing.
What is your mission to support the art sector and contemporary art museums in particular, and what results would you like to see your contribution achieve in the future?
At Benesse Art Site Naoshima, art and contemporary art museums are merely parts of a single whole. We work to ensure that our activities as a whole change appropriately over a long time, rather than providing more support and purpose than necessary for each side.
In fact, we are developing it into various forms beyond art and museums. Our activities include Inujima’s botanical garden in collaboration with the artists and architects as well as Naoshima’s public bath in collaboration with the designer and artist. For us, the shape and art of museums should change with the times.
In this sense, our mission is to pursue how to change art and contemporary art museums into something lasting and whether they can continue to give value to humankind.
Its process resembles that of classical music, where new tones are produced with different interpretations when they are played by the leading conductors and performers of each generation. We sincerely hope that Benesse Art Site Naoshima will become the masterpiece that art enthusiasts and artists will want to play for the generations to come.
The more words one knows, the better one writes. The same goes for colors. One can draw even more vivid art with more colors. We believe that perpetuating many art pieces, projects, and efforts through Benesse Art Site Naoshima will create a vivid world filled with possibilities. As such, we recognize the importance of perpetuating to as many generations as possible, pouring our efforts into building such a system.
Which of CIMAM´s projects are most suited to developing your action plan to support the sector of museums and collections of modern and contemporary art?
There is no doubt that art's context is important in a collection, including what kind one can draw out. Discovering new value requires diverse perspectives and unique thinking. In this respect, we find CIMAM's network to be spectacular.
We are amid trying times for the museum industry. However, this does not dampen our hopes for our new president, Mami Kataoka!