Niwa’s practice takes the form of social interventions realised through performance, video and installation. His works all bear self-explanatory, slogan-like titles, and are executed primarily on the street and in public spaces, experimenting with actions and propositions exposing the systems of exchange that drive contemporary society. Niwa’s work involves seemingly absurd and unproductive physical acts, as illustrated in Transforming Puddle A to Puddle B, 2004, when Niwa transferred water with his mouth from a puddle in East Berlin to create a new puddle a short distance away in West Berlin. Niwa frequently places himself in unusual situations in order to undermine and expose the emptiness of systems designed to create an illusion of “publicness”, as illustrated by his work Walk in the Opposite Direction of a Demonstration Parade, 2011, when he walked in the opposite direction to people demonstrating against nuclear power after the Great East Japan Earthquake.
In recent years Niwa has taken an interest in the history of communism, moving on to projects that explore the nature of national history. Recent projects include Looking for Vladimir Lenin at Moscow Apartments, 2012, in which Niwa searches the homes of ordinary Russian families for images of Lenin years after the demise of the Soviet Union. His latest project, Selling The Right to Name a Pile of Garbage, 2014, sees Niwa examining the concept of property rights over garbage and land in Manila, Philippines, by colligating the naming rights of businesses and dumpsites.
Yoshinori Niwa was born in 1982 in the Aichi Prefecture in Japan. Niwa graduated Tama Art University’s Department of Moving Images and Performing Arts in 2005. Niwa’s work has been exhibited internationally; recent group exhibitions include Double Vision: Contemporary Art From Japan, Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Haifa Museum of Art (2012); Aichi Triennale 2013, Aichi Arts Center (2013); Roppongi Crossing 2013: OUT OF DOUBT, Mori Art Museum (2013), Historically Historic Historical History of Communism, Edel Assanti (2015), OUR BELOVED WORLD, Marugame Genichiro-Inokuma Museum of Contemporary Art (2015), MAM screen Yoshinori Niwa Selected video works, Mori Art Museum (2016) and his work is included in international collections including the KADIST Foundation, Paris/San Francisco, Wroclaw Contemporary Museum, Wroclaw, Mori Art Museum and Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo. Niwa lives and works in Vienna, Austria.
2005 BFA, Tama Art University Department of Moving Images and Performing Arts, Tokyo, JAPAN
Selected Solo Shows 2017 That Language Sounds Like A Language, Edel Assanti, London, UK 2017 We're Heading to a Place Where Nobody Wants to go By the Will of All, 1335MABINI, Manila, PHILIPPINES 2017 MAM screen #5: Yoshinori Niwa Selected Video Works, Mori Art Museum, JAPAN 2016 Zapoznela hipoteza – Od A do B, Alkatraz Gallery, Ljubljana, SLOVENIA 2016 Against Reason, CAPSULE, Tokyo, JAPAN 2016 Power of Ownership, 1335MABINI, Manila, PHILIPPINES 2016 Against Name, Minatomachi Art Table, Nagoya, JAPAN 2015 Historically Historic Historical History of Communism, Edel Assanti, London, UK 2014 Research and Production: Artistic Methods in a Transitional Period, Tamsui Historical Museum, Taipei, TAIWAN 2014 Never Trust in People without Contradiction, 1335MABINI, Manila, PHILIPPINES 2012 Possibilities is the antonym of today, AI KOWADA GALLERY, Tokyo, JAPAN 2012 Possibilities is the antonym of today, GALLERY TERRA TOKYO, Tokyo, JAPAN 2012 Clapping hands for the bears in Bern, NADiff Window Gallery, Tokyo, JAPAN 2011 Searching for community, or their escape drama, AI KOWADA GALLERY, Tokyo, JAPAN 2010 No solution, but brawl, AI KOWADA GALLERY, Tokyo, JAPAN 2010 The Poetics of Activism, gallery αlpha M, Tokyo, JAPAN 2010 Communicating with Thieves, HIAP Project Room, Helsinki, FINLAND 2009 Face round, community!, Migigawanikenme, Tokyo, JAPAN 2009 Transforming puddle A to puddle B, Art in General, NYC, USA
Selected Group shows
2019 Beautiful Village, Aomori Museum of Art, Aomori, JAPAN (forthcoming)
2018 steirischer herbst’18, Graz, AUSTRIA (forthcoming)
2018 Practice of Occupation of the Work, Wroclaw Contemporary Museum, POLAND (forthcoming)
2018 Wars Of Worlds, Visual Kontakt, Cluj-Napoca, ROMANIA
2018 Imagining Memory: Between Anaesthesia and Amnesia, 1335MABINI, Manila, PHILIPPINES
2018 Current Sign, Das Weiess Haus, Vienna, AUSTRIA
2017 Too Pretty To Throw Away, Asia and Pacific Museum, Warwaw, POLAND 2017 Wars Of Worlds, MOA contemporary, Bucharest, ROMANIA
2017 Wars Of Worlds, National Museum of Art Constanța, ROMANIA
2017 Socially Engaged Art, 3331 Arts Chiyoda, Tokyo, JAPAN 2017 Where are we going?, Zimmermann Kratochwill, Graz, AUSTRIA 2016 Rivers - The way of Living in Transition/Asia Contemporary Art Links, Gwanju Biennale Hall, Gwanju, SOUTH KOREA 2016 Packaging Design from Japan: Too Pretty to Throw Away, Siebold Huis, Leiden, THE NETHERLAND 2016 Packaging Design from Japan: Too Pretty to Throw Away, Manngha Center, Krakow, POLAND 2016 Setouchi Triennale 2016, Naoshima Island, JAPAN 2016 House of Day, House of Night, @KCUA, Kyoto, JAPAN 2015 OUR BELOVED WORLD, Marugame Inokuma-Genichiro Contemporary Art Museum, Marugame, JAPAN 2015 Rivers - The way of Living in Transition/Asia Contemporary Art Links, The Pier-2 Art Center, Kaohsiung, TAIWAN 2014 Some Like It Witty, Gallery EXIT, HONG KONG 2014 Forces at Work, Jorge B. Vargas Museum and Filipiniana Research Center, Manila, PHILIPPINES 2014 Susukino Triennale 2014, Sapporo, JAPAN 2013 The 7th Move on Asia: Censorship, Alternative Space LOOP, Seoul, SOUTH KOREA 2013 Aichi Triennale 2013, Aichi Arts Center, Nagoya, JAPAN 2013 Roppongi Crossing 2013: OUT OF DOUBT, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, JAPAN 2012 Double Vision: Contemporary Art From Japan, Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Moscow, RUSSIA 2012 Double Vision: Contemporary Art From Japan, Hiafa Museum of Art, Haifa, ISRAEL 2012 New Gallery × New Artists × New Works, AI KOWADA GALLERY, Tokyo, JAPAN 2012 RYUGU IS OVER, Ryugu Bijutsu Ryokan, Yokohama, JAPAN 2012 Similarities and Differences— Asian Contemporary Media Arts from Daisuke 2012 Miyatsu Collection, BEXCO, Busan, SOUTH KOREA 2012 Identity VIII - curated by Shihoko Iida-, nca | nichido contemporary art, Tokyo, JAPAN 2012 Daikanyama Art Street, HILLSIDE FORUM, Tokyo, JAPAN 2012 But Fresh, Tokyo Wonder Site Hongo, Tokyo, JAPAN 2011 Social Dive – Exploratory Imagination, 3331 Arts Chiyoda, Tokyo, JAPAN 2011 Gallery Artists’ show 2011, AI KOWADA GALLERY, Tokyo, JAPAN 2011 Art Struction, 3331 Arts Chiyoda, Tokyo, JAPAN 2011 Re-Modernologio phase2: Observation and Notation, Aomori Cotemporary Art Centre, Aomori, JAPAN 2011 Busan Biennale Sea Art Festival 2011, Busan, SOUTH KOREA 2011 BONE 14 – Performance Art Festival BERN, Schlachthaus Theater, Bern, SWITZERLAND 2010 UTOPIA OF EXOTIC, PAVILION UNICREDIT, Bucharest, ROMANIA 2009 The Arts of Togetherness, Gendai Gallery, Toronto, CANADA 2007 ENSEMBLE OF MEN, Matucana 100, Santiago, CHILE 2007 Beauty Farm, Neue Kunst im Hagenbucher, Heilbronn, GERMANY 2006 Living Art from Tokyo and San Francisco, The Lab, San Francisco, USA 2005 Ongoing vol.04 – Read Look Look!, BankART1929, Tokyo, JAPAN 2005 BOY! BOY! BOY!, Ochanomizu Women’s University, Tokyo, JAPAN 2005 The Experimenter Project, Artpool Art Research Center, Budapest, HUNGARY 2004 Eyelevel Gallery Summer Performance Series 2004, Eyelevel Gallery, Halifax, CANADA 2004 While you were away: Mail Art Show, 667shotwell, San Francisco, USA
Selected Performances, Screenings 2016 OUR BELOVED WORLD, Marugame Inokuma-Genichiro Contemporary Art Museum, Marugame, JAPAN 2015 Project Bakawan, University of Philippines Film Center, Manila, PHILIPPINES 2011 6th Carnival of e-Creativity, Sattal Estate, Bhimtal, INDIA 2011 BONE 14 – Performance Art Festival BERN, Schlachthaus Theater, Bern, SWITZERLAND 2010 Communicating with Thieves, Helsinki, FINLAND 2010 Tossing Socialist in the Air in Romania, Bucharest, ROMANIA 2008 Make Tama Art University Pikapikapikapika, Tokyo, JAPAN 2008 6th DaDao Live Art Festival, Shanghai, CHINA 2008 UP-ON First Live Art Festival, Chengdu, CHINA 2007 Bucharest Biennale 3 parallel event, National Theater Bucharest, ROMANIA 2007 Videoscreening II, Lothringer 13, Munich, GERMANY 2007 East-West Study Project 2007 – The Art of „Encounter“, Koln, Dusseldorf, Hanover, GERMANY 2007 KargART Video Festival, Istanbul, TURKEY 2006 INPORT – International Video-Performance Art Festival, Tallinn, ESTONIA 2006 Action Art After Zerojigen Generation, Tokyo, JAPAN 2006 SPRINGTIDES, Salzau Castle, Schleswig-Holstein, GERMANY
Artist-in-Residencies 2014 Hotspring Project, Taipei, TAIWAN 2014 1335MABINI Working in Residency, Manila, PHILIPPINES 2011 Contemporary Art Centre Aomori, Aomori, JAPAN 2010 Helsinki International Artist-in-Residency Programme (HIAP), Helsinki, FINLAND 2007 TOAH Artist-in-Residency Programme, TOU SCENE – Centre for Contemporary Art, Stavanger, NORWAY 2005 VENT Live Art Residency, Oxfordshire Visual Arts Development Agency, Oxford, UK
2018 Welcome Disappointed Welcome GovernmentVisual Kontakt, Cluj-Napoca, ROMANIA
2017 Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast, NORTHERN IRELAND 2017 Kyoto University, Kyoto, JAPAN 2016 Manngha Center, Krakow, POLAND 2016 SCCA- Center for Contemporary Arts, Ljubljana, SLOVENIA 2015 Minatomachi Art Table, Nagoya, JAPAN 2015 Goldsmith College, London, UK 2015 Kyoto City University of Arts, Kyoto, JAPAN 2014 Tamkang University, Taipei, TAIWAN 2012 Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Moscow, RUSSIA 2012 The Japan Foundation, Moscow, Moscow, RUSSIA 2012 The Rodchenko Moscow School of Photography and Multimedia, Moscow, RUSSIA 2012 Waseda University, Tokyo, JAPAN 2012 Tama Art University, Tokyo, JAPAN 2011 Aomori Contemporary Art Centre, Aomori, JAPAN
2018 Art Basel Hong Kong 2018, HONG KONG 2017 ArtStage Singapore, SINGAPORE 2016 Dallas Art Fair, Dallas, U.S.A 2015 Officielle, Paris, FRANCE 2015 Art Fair Philippines 2015, Manila, PHILIPPINES 2014 ART TAIPEI 2014, Taipei, TAIWAN 2014 3331 Art Fair Various Collectors’ Prizes, 3331 Arts Chiyoda, Tokyo, JAPAN 2009 ULTRA 2009, Tokyo, JAPAN
Awards, Nominates, Grants, Scholarships 2018 Bildrecht, Austria 2018 Nomura Foundation, JAPAN 2018 Follow Fluxus – After Fluxus2014, Nassauischer Kunstverein Wiesbaden, GERMANY (nominated) 2017 Aethetica Art Prize 2017 Longlist, UK 2016 Future Generation Art Award 2016, Victor Pinchuk Foundation, URAINE (nominated) 2015 Program of Overseas Study for Upcoming Artists (long term), Agency for Cultural Affairs, JAPAN 2014 Program of Overseas Study for Upcoming Artists (short term), Agency for Cultural Affairs, JAPAN 2014 Prudential Eye Award 2015, Prudential Contemporary Art, SINGAPORE (nominated) 2014 Future Greats 2014, ArtReview, UK 2014 Follow Fluxus – After Fluxus2014, Nassauischer Kunstverein Wiesbaden, GERMANY (nominated)
Publications 2018 Welcome Dissapointed Welcome Government, Self-publishing, Wien
2017 Till the Demise of Capitalism, Art-Phil, Tokyo 2016 Tempura! Special edition for Setouchi Triennale (artist book), UMISHIBAURA, Tokyo 2015 Against Name (artist book), self-publishing, Tokyo 2015 Historically Historic Historical History of Communism (monograph), Art-phil, Tokyo 2015 Tempura! (artist book), UMISHIBAURA, Tokyo 2013 Reenacting Publicness - Translating Art Work Descriptions into 23 Different Languages (artist book), My Book Service, Tokyo 2010 The Community of Ruin (artist book), self-publishing, Tokyo
Collections Wroclaw Contemporary Museum, Wroclaw, POLAND Kadist Foundation, Paris/San Francisco Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, JAPAN Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo, JAPAN The Fukutake Foundation, Kagawa, JAPAN Takahashi Collection, Tokyo, JAPAN United Arrows Ltd., Tokyo, JAPAN Private Collection, Tokyo, JAPAN Private Collection, Taipei, TAIWAN Private Collection, Manila, Philippines Private Collection, London, UK Private Collection, Washington, US