Vanguard gallery

“Essence of the Snow Country” – Artists from Japan’s 40th Parallel


Artist: Masao Okabe, Satoshi Hata, Kineta Kunimatsu,  Matsuri Taro, Kiyoshi Takahashi, Ikuko Imamura, Hiroshi Takeda, Nanako Kashimi, Mikio Taka, Megumi Morimoto,  Nobuyuki Senba

Furniture provider: Kishinan, Furniture design workshop santaro, Takumi Kohgei CO.,LTD, Interior Hokusho Kobo Inc., Conde House CO.,LTD

Opening Reception: 6/20 16:00 ~ 20:00

Duration: 2009/6/20(Sat) – 7/19(Sun)

Organizer: Shanghai Sapporo Contemporary Art Committee, Vanguard Gallery, Office339

Co-organizer: Key International Shanghai

Curator: Office339

Sponsor: SAPPORO City, ASC Fine Wines

Support: Creative M50, Ci5@Cafe&champagneBar


Vanguard Gallery

Room204, Bldg.4A, 50 Moganshan Road, 200060 Shanghai, China

Creative M50

1F, Bldg.18, 50 Moganshan Road, 200060 Shanghai, China


TEL: + 86 21 62993523

FAX / TEL: + 86 21 52522551







Essence of the Snow Country
Sustainability = Nature x Community x Creativity
Today, as we enter a new, post-capitalist era, economic and even social structures are in flux.  Our former sense of value clearly has lost its meaning.

In the art world, too, rather than a cash-driven industry dominated by the auctions and art fairs of recent years, we need to find an alternative direction.

Where do we go from here?

Seeking an answer, we will present “Essence of the Snow Country,” a group exhibition of 11 contemporary artists from Hokkaido (Japan).



Hokkaido, with its vast open spaces and well-developed infrastructure, is the only place in Japan capable of realizing a sustainable society.


Since humans first appeared in Hokkaido 30,000 years ago, the native Ainu culture has developed through exchange with Sakhalin (Russia) and mainland Japan. This unique culture, fostered by fertile soil and abundant marine life, forms a distinct part of contemporary artists’ inheritance.


These artists’ methods of expression are diverse, including painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, and video. Many of their works are born of communication with nature or those who live close to it. As a result, the artworks are often monotone, and made of wood or transparent material. Such a style is the special domain of those who dwell in nature, living with snow half the year and developing a set of values far removed from those of monetary capitalism. We thus cannot ignore Hokkaido artists’ significant cultural potential.


In recent years, Japanese contemporary art has received widespread international attention. Yet the media and market focus solely on Tokyo’s art scene, creating the illusion that such art only exists there.
Concepts like “Super Flat” and “Micropop” may deftly characterize contemporary Japanese society, but we believe you will find that the 11 featured artists’ modes of expression do not fit within this framework.


This exhibition is the result of a community effort, including the artists’ own enthusiastic participation, the dedicated support of people from Hokkaido now living in Shanghai, and collaboration with others sympathetic to the project. Artists’ creativity, community support, and nature fulfilling its maternal role: together, these can create a sustainable society.


In these artists’ contemporary modes of expression, we hope that you will find the true “essence of the snow country.”

Office339 Director
鳥本健太 Kenta Torimoto

*Several pieces of furniture by Hokkaido-based designers will be on display at the main venue for visitors’ appreciation and use during the exhibition period.

*During the exhibition opening, light meals, sweets and alcohol produced in Hokkaido will be available.

Please contact to for further information.