The House, 2018-”How Little You Know About Me" Courtesy of MMCA, Korea, Photograph by Moon June Hee
Other History of Japanese Architecture
Raymond Farm Center’s 2018 Summer Artist Resident
Yusuke Kamata’s recent artworks are based on his research of Japanese-Style Houses, which have been built around the world over the past century-and-a-half for several diverse reasons. His works consist of documentary videos and installation art pieces. Kamata is in the United States to study the work and history of Antonin and Noémi Pernessin Raymond, and their protégé, Junzo Yoshimura.
Yoshimura was the architect of Shofuso, a traditional-style Japanese house first part of the 1953 “House in the Garden” exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City now located in Fairmont Park, Philadelphia. He also designed the Japanese Tea House in Pocantico, NY, 1964, and the Japan Society Headquarters Building in New York City, 1971. Kamata is studying the Raymonds and Yoshimura, who articulated the connections between traditional Japanese architecture and Modernist design theory and, in turn, integrated Japanese spatial concepts and construction techniques into their work.
Kamata is also researching a troubling chapter in the life and work of Antonin Raymond and for the world-at-large.
With the Japanese invasion of China marking the outbreak of World War II in Asia, the Raymonds returned to the United States in 1938, after practicing architecture in Japan for 18 years. In 1943, Raymond was asked by the research branch of the Department of War to design a series of conventional Japanese style homes on which the US Army Air Corps could test the effectiveness of newly developed incendiary ordnance— firebombs. Antonin Raymond admitted in his autobiography that this was difficult task to take on and he was not proud of the work.
Mr. Kamata’s investigation is seeking the history of Japanese architecture outside of Japan from not only a cultural context but also its social and political aspects as well— to better understand the world, its history, and help create a better future.
Born in 1984 in Kanagawa, Japan, Yusuke Kamata, graduated with a Master in Fine Arts in Inter-Media Art from Tokyo University of the Arts in 2013. His works have shown at several exhibitions such as “How Little You Know About Me” (2018), National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, “Windowology” (2017) , Spiral Garden, Tokyo, Japan, “Kaetemiru–Time For A Change” (2016), Aomori Contemporary Art Centre. His work exposes the distortion inherent in architecture and its history, and is built upon extensive research into the connections between war, the energy industry and modern history of Japan.
To read more about Yusuke’s time at the Raymond Farm, please see our August 2018 newsletter.