Interview: Tsuyoshi Hisakado: On Hawai‘i Triennial 2022

  • Tsuyoshi Hisakado and Masanori Handa are participating in the Hawai‘i Triennial 2022 "Pacific Century - E Ho'ommau no Moananuiākea" which commenced on 18 February 2022. The exhibition is composed of works focusing on the history, place, and identity within the context of Hawai’i. We had a chat with Tsuyoshi Hisakado, who visited Hawai’i for the Triennial during the current global pandemic. 

  • Masanori Handa and Tsuyoshi Hisakado are participating in the Hawai‘i Triennial 2022 'Pacific Century - E Ho'ommau no Moananuiākea' which...


    Installation View: "Pause", 2022, Hawai'i Triennial 2022, at Royal Hawaiian Center

  • In Conversation with Tsuyoshi Hisakado

  • Ota Fine Arts (O): You had visited Hawai’i to install your work for the Triennial before its opening. Did you...

    Ota Fine Arts (O): You had visited Hawai’i to install your work for the Triennial before its opening. Did you observe any differences between Japan and Hawaii such as the situation in the streets, due to the Covid-19 pandemic?


    Tsuyoshi Hisakado (T): I think the difference in the ways of thinking was very noticeable. Because of the US government's deregulation last year, I had the impression that the idea of ‘Live with Covid-19’ had strengthened. It seems that tourists from the mainland of US have mostly returned to pre-Covid-19 times. There were not many people wearing masks in the city, and unlike Japan, most of the shops were open. There were many crowds of people at night, and the streets were vibrant with performances. Prior to the opening of the Triennial, there were visitors from the same industry and I could feel that everyone was looking forward to this Triennial. It reminded me of the excitement that we used to experience right before the opening of an art festival.


    It is difficult to determine what the correct answer is, but it was a wonderful experience to able to reaffirm my gratitude of visiting the site to install an artwork, which seemed only natural in the past.


    On a different note, Japan's border control system was so complicated that the more I looked it up, the more I felt like I was stuck in a swamp of information. On the other hand, the system of entering and leaving Hawai’i was almost too simple. Both may be extremes, but it was a valuable experience of thinking about ethnicity and the social system of each country.

  • O: Both of the exhibited artworks "Pause" (2022) and "Crossfades #1" (2015/2020) deal with the concept of time. Were there any reasons for selecting these artworks for the Hawai’i Triennial this time?


    T: Since this is the first time I am exhibiting in the United States, I have selected a work that is representative and easy to convey. Moreover, the installation titled "Pause" was derived from an event that made me start my career as an artist. In 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake happened. Reflecting on this incident, I decided to take on the challenge of re-starting my artist career and to live a life that is convincing to me. When I was a junior high school student, I experienced the Great Hanshin Earthquake and thought that such a big change would not happen in my life anymore, but now we are facing Coronavirus and are being placed in a situation where everyone has to stand still. This work seeks to convey the thought that the present situation does not reflect a complete stop, instead, it is at a paused state. While doubting and confirming various things that previously seemed absolute in life and society, everyone is carefully thinking about their lives from now on.


    "Crossfades # 1" started with the concept of "increasing the resolution of perception". In addition to that, I want to suggest how one can expand their life from the current starting point.


    Since both "Pause" and "Crossfades # 1" are time-based works of some sort, they have something in common with ‘time’. But from a different perspective, ‘how to live your one and only life in a timeline that is supposedly eternal’ is a common theme for all humankind. There are several important crossroads in life. These timings of when to stand still are very valuable, which is what I want to express in both works. I wanted to confirm if this feeling can be felt overseas, so I decided to exhibit these works at the Hawai’i Triennial.

  • O: In 'Pause' (2022), the space is filled with blue lighting. What sort of change has this attempt provided to...

    O: In "Pause" (2022), the space is filled with blue lighting. What sort of change has this attempt provided to the artwork?


    T: During the Covid-19 stay-home period, I began to observe colours. While staying at home, I often looked out of my window to observe the landscapes, the colours of the sky and the transformation of clouds – things I had not noticed before. I became interested in the change of nature throughout the year.


    For the work presented in Hawai’i, I added a little colour to the light. I am currently studying the field of neuroesthetics. It deals with ‘fundamental’ themes such as ‘why do people find something beautiful’. Perhaps it is derived from this. However, for this occasion, I coloured the work because the sea and sky I saw every morning from the balcony of the hotel I was staying at were beautiful. And also, after passing through the busy street on the way to the exhibition venue, I felt like I needed a different approach to make the installation stand out as an unusual space.

  • O: How did the restricted travel situation affect the production of site-specific installations? T: Originally, the exhibition location was supposed...

    O: How did the restricted travel situation affect the production of site-specific installations?


    T: Originally, the exhibition location was supposed to be in a former military facility called "Fort Barrette BUNKER", which was built during World War II and remains present to this day. It is a massive space made of thick concrete, and is currently an off-limit area. Railroad tracks were laid in the space, probably for placing weapons and ammunition in the past. Between Japan and Hawai’i, there are long histories of immigrant workers, attacks on Pearl Harbor, and becoming popular tourist destinations. While studying such relationships, I was trying to create a work based on the theme of "healing" amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.


    However, the situation changed, and due to the economic deterioration during the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of homeless people increased rapidly in Waikiki, and they started staying at the BUNKER. It became impossible to hold an exhibition there. After many efforts by the organizers, one corner of the Royal Hawaiian Center became dedicated as the new exhibition venue. It used to be a crowded place with a large FOREVER 21 store inside, but it also closed down because of the Covid-19 pandemic. In developed countries, museums will not get occupied by homeless people or face sudden closures. Instead, these places are protected by the government. However, the two locations that I had mentioned above are directly influenced by Covid-19.


    This unusual situation had a psychological impact on me. However, instead of making such a system of a capitalist society the direct theme, I felt that it is meaningful to continue my themes of ‘healing’ and ‘perception’ in this place, at this time.

  • O: After having this experience in Hawai’i, could you share if you have any ideas for new works which you would like to challenge in the future.


    T: It is still unclear what kind of relationship Covid-19 and humankind will build in the future. But perhaps it will become more difficult to physically visit the site to pick up elements locally and build up a space. While respecting this style of working and maintaining the fundamental parts of the work, it may become impossible to deliver the artwork unless one can find alternative methods.


    I have not been making video works, but I am tempted to make a movie-like piece. I want to think of some form of artwork that allows one to experience a space and provides a fulfilling narrative as if they have just finished watching a film. Realistically, I am imagining the experience of walking through a long corridor. I am now using various media such as 3D and 2D, artificial light and wind, sound and programming. I also want to include text, smell, humidity and temperature to create a work that moves one’s heart.


    What I meant earlier of finding alternative methods is not equal to a digitized and highly mobile thing. But instead, it is a substance that feels like blood is flowing, and will not be affected by the speed of modern society. I want to find something that will certainly reach the viewer’s nerves.

  • Hawai‘i Triennal 2022

    Title: Hawai‘i Triennal 2022: Pacific Century – E Ho‘omau no Moananuiākea

    Exhibition Period:18th February - 8th May 2022

    Venue:Royal Hawaiian Center, 2201 Kalakaua Ave. Honolulu, HI 96815, Hawaii, USA

    For more information, click here.

  • Tsuyoshi Hisakado will have an upcoming solo exhibition in our Tokyo gallery this summer. 

  • About the Artist

    Born in Kyoto in 1981, Tsuyoshi Hisakado completed a M.F.A. at the Department of Sculpture of the Kyoto City University of Arts in 2007. Hisakado's practice focuses on the seemingly mundane aspects of everyday life. He assembles evidence of history and phenomena that are unique to specific places, creating installations that combine sound, light, and sculpture. In March 2020, Hisakado held his first museum-scale solo exhibition at the Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Japan. Hisakado was elected the East Asian Cultural Exchange Envoy and has been awarded the 'Mercedes-Benz Art Scope 2018-2020', the Audience Award at the 'NISSAN ART AWARD 2015', and the Grand Prize of the 'VOCA 2016 The Vision of Contemporary Art'. He has participated in various group exhibitions including the '58th Venice Biennale 2019: May You Live in Interesting Times" (Venice, 2019)', 'Asia Corridor Contemporary Art Exhibition (Kyoto, 2017)', 'AICHI TRIENNALE 2016 rainbow caravan' and has held solo exhibitions at 'MoCA Pavilion Special Project (Shanghai, 2016), Ota Fine Arts Singapore (2015) and Ota Fine Arts Tokyo (2018). Hisakado is a founding member of the artist collective SHlNCHIKA which was formed in 2002.


    To learn more about the artist, please click here.

  • Available Works

  • Current


    Tsuyoshi Hisakado participates in "Sunset / Sunrise", Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Aichi, Japan from 15th Feburuary to 8th May 2022.


    Title: Sunset / Sunrise


    Exhibition Period: 15th Feburuary - 8th May 2022.

    Opening hours: 10:00-17:30 (Admission is until 17:00)
    Closed on Mondays (except national holidays)


    Venue: Toyota Municipal Museum of Art

    For more information, click here.

  • Tsuyoshi Hisakado participates in 'ドラフト・ライブラリー in 明窓館 書を拾い、喋るでしかしッ!', Kyoto Seika University, Japan from 19th to 27th April 2022. Title: ドラフト・ライブラリー...

    Tsuyoshi Hisakado participates in "ドラフト・ライブラリー in 明窓館 書を拾い、喋るでしかしッ!", Kyoto Seika University, Japan from 19th to 27th April 2022.


    Title: ドラフト・ライブラリー in 明窓館 書を拾い、喋るでしかしッ!


    Exhibition Period: 19th - 27th April 2022

    Opening hours: 11:00-18:00


    Venue: Terra-S Gallery, Kyoto Seika University
    Organizer: Draft Library Executive Commitee

    For more information, click here