BIOGRAPHY / CV / ARTICLES & MEDIA / GRANTS
Photo: Keisuke Inoue
Since Graduating from Tokyo University of the Arts, Atsushi Watanabe has been presenting socially critical artworks based on his and other peoples experiences with emotional scars and mind traps. The subject matter varies from new religions, economic disparity, homelessness, animal rights, sexual minorities, hikikomori to mental illnesses — things which are often viewed negatively and as taboo by society.
In recent years, he has worked on numerous projects that used the internet to get the cooperation of emotionally scarred people, in order to investigate hidden social issues, as well as his own experiences as a “hikikomori.” In doing so, his work tackles the possibility and impossibility of empathy between insiders and outsiders, and of the nature of social inclusion, as well as extending to themes of society, culture, welfare and psychology.
Watanabe's work seeks the possibility of an art that acts directly to make mental interventions in social problems and thereby solve them.
Selected solo and project exhibitions: Monument of recovery (BankART SILK, Kanagawa, 2020), ATSUSHI WATANABE (Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, London, England, 2019), I'm here project Photobook publication commemoration exhibition "Gaze" (Site-A Gallery Beneath the Railways, Kanagawa, 2019), My wounds / Your wounds (Roppongi Hills A/D Gallery, Tokyo, 2017).
Selected Group exhibitions: ARTEFACT 2020 : ALONE TOGETHER (STUK, Leuven, Belgium, 2020), Ame ni mo makezu: singing in the rain (BankART Station / R16studio, Kanagawa, 2019).
In 2018/2019 Watanabe was selected for the “Arts Commission Yokohama Creative Inclusion Grant.” In 2016/2017 he was selected for the “Arts Commission Yokohama Creative Children Fellowship.” In 2016, he joined ARTIST’S GUILD.
In addition to putting out artistic works, Watanabe has also appeared in television programs such as the social welfare program “Breakthrough” (NHK E-Tele, 2016), and “Heart Net TV” (NHK E-Tele, 2018-2019), and contributed writing to magazines, newspapers, and online publications, for the perspective of someone who has experienced social problems, and as a cultural commentator. He also lectures on topics both within art and on other topics.
◼ Atsushi Watanabe website: https://www.atsushi-watanabe.jp/
◼ I’m here project website: https://www.iamhere-project.org/
Beginning in 2018, The I’m here project has engaged with hikikomori, to photograph their own rooms themselves. These photos were turned into a photo book.
2009 Finished Oil Painting Major, the Graduate School of Fine Arts, Graduate School of Tokyo University of the Arts.
2007 Graduated Painting, Fine Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts.
1978 Born in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan.
< Selected Solo and Project Exhibitions >
< Selected Group Exhibitions >
[Selected Art Fairs]
[Selected Talks & Events]
[Selected Articles & Media]