What Abety Has Yet to See



What Abety Has Yet to See (detail) 2007

What Abety Has Yet to See


Two years worth of Atsushi Watanabe’s boogers, a replica of the exhibition stand at Bank of Japan, video (1 min. 25 sec. | looped)

Private Collection


  For the exhibition at the vault of the Bank of Japan, I was at first planning to make a logo mark of 100-yen shop Daiso (the equivalent of a dollar store) with gold, but the plan was refused by a banker, so I exhibited this artwork instead. I put the piece in the room where people can visit and observe piled up gold bars. I reproduced the exhibition stand they had, and I put my gold bar, which I made with a secret material––my boogers that I collected for two years.

  People in poor countries like Ethiopia, for instance, mine gold. Those people dig a tiny hole that barely fits one person deep underground, risking their lives to mine for gold dust; sometimes they can’t even find a speck of gold after all that digging. In contrast, a great economic power’s central bank showing off piled up gold bars looked ridiculous to me.

  I made this work exploring a critical approach to these extraordinary international economic disparities, the conservative Bank of Japan, and Japanese people (myself included) who leisurely watch documentaries about serious situations in Ethiopia without feeling any sense of reality through their big-screen TVs. I also dug inside a “hole” everyday for long hours, and mined and collected a minute amount of “that” little by little. I will never forget the wry grin of Mr. Fukui, the Governor of the Bank of Japan, who came to see the exhibition on the opening day. 


[Reference TV video]


[Past Exhibitions for The Corpse Abandonment Incident ~Leather~]

  • "Art fair Tokyo 2015" (Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, 2015)
  • "Yosenabe Hot Pot" (Art Lab AKIBA, Tokyo, 2014) 
  • "Asia Panic" (Gwangju Biennale Hall, Gwangju, 2009)
  • "KINCO ~Bank of Japan Walking Museum" (Bank of Japan head office underground safe, Tokyo, 2007)



◀Previous work   |   Next work▶