AFAF2022 Fair Report from an Art Collector’s Perspective ②

 Kenichi Kuroki





To be honest, I have rarely participated in events called "art fairs" in Japan or abroad.


Why? When asked why, I have always answered, "Because I decide which works to collect based on whether or not they conform to the cumbersome concept I have decided upon, and I prefer to take my time in selecting works for curated exhibitions (at galleries, etc.) that have a theme. That is true. But the truth is, there are a lot of people, it takes time, and besides, I've come all this way, so I have to buy! And if I don't buy now, someone else will buy it! I am physically and mentally exhausted. Yes, I'm simply not good at it. I am simply not good at it.

I wanted to go to "Art Fair Asia Fukuoka" even after overcoming such selfish aversion.



In addition to my strong interest in the exhibition's distinctive "Asian" theme, I was compelled to go when I heard that it would be a collaborative exhibition of works from the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum's collection and the collection of Miyazu, Japan's top art collector, which is rumored to have an amazing lineup of works.


After arriving at Fukuoka Airport, we first went to the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum before the fair started. Naturally, it was a sight to behold. I was amazed at how the museum was able to collect so many works from various countries with diverse historical backgrounds, even though the word "Asia" is used in one word. The tumultuous history, poverty in the process of development and growth, longing for developed countries.... Although the countries were different, a common atmosphere was created in the exhibition space as one lump called Asia.



Then I went to the exhibition halls of Art Fair Asia Fukuoka. There were 45 hotel rooms filled with galleries from all over Japan, and the venue was also packed with collectors from all over Japan. The atmosphere was very lively.



Then we went to the highly anticipated Fukuoka International Congress Center.

The luxurious fair venue, where many of Japan's leading galleries gathered, had a slightly different atmosphere than usual. Many of the well-known galleries had a gracefully Asian-conscious exhibition structure.



After having seen the solid exhibition at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, I was so excited to visit the fair that it was like a world bazaar in a dreamland, and I couldn't help but be more interested in the works of Asian artists than usual. I think this is a really good organization.



On the other hand, how do we define and structure Asia in the first place at fairs in Japan, where the sense of being an Asian country is becoming increasingly rare? How high are the expectations of Japanese galleries and collectors toward Asia? How about the participation of Asian galleries other than Japanese galleries? These are just a few of the questions on my mind as I look forward to the next edition of this fair, which I hear will evolve into a larger scale event.


The "bustling" atmosphere, which I had completely forgotten about, was enjoyed not only at the fair but also at Hakata's izakaya (Japanese-style pubs) and yatai (food stalls) in Nakasu. The art discussions involving not only well acquainted friends but also those who are just getting to know each other are irresistible.



Huh? I think I'm starting to like the fair...