KOBE Biennale 2015

-- Drawing upon the Arts for Urban Development "Implementation of Culture Creation City" --

KOBE Biennale 2015 aims to redefine traditional ideas about art, rallying the city's collective cultural strengths that have helped us recover from the earthquake over the past 20 years and drawing upon its long-cultivated enterprising spirit. By promoting Art Culture to a new stage, the Biennale will showcase Japanese culture's remarkable levels of diversity, and acceptance of and openness to foreign cultures. We hope that this message will be sent across Japan and to the world from this port city.
Through the implementation of KOBE Biennale 2015, we hope to demonstrate the fact that a city rich in culture and arts cannot be created without the will and action of every citizen who has a great pride in and attachment to the city. We aim to create a Culture Creation City that can inspire and delight people.

Theme: Suki [su:ki], (meaning "love")

We are fascinated by the new, the outstanding, the endearing. Curiosity arouses our senses and brings Art Culture to life. As the saying goes, "each to their own", but in each person's preferences (suki na koto) we see the essence of that person's being. "Suki" in Japanese is many words, pronounced the same, but written with many different Chinese characters and with a host of different meanings. Making paper (kami o suki), ploughing the fields (tochi o suki), brushing hair (kami o suki), peeking through a gap (hedate o suki)...People in Japan experience and become close to the various meanings of "suki" during the course of daily life. With combs, hoes, and fences, the dishevelled is put straight, things we do not need are gotten rid of, and the way is cleared: this is suki.
Innovation can thrive through this spirit of cleansing and clearing, and within the created space (suki), free thinking is stimulated in the minds of many individuals. Japan's culture of hospitality also has developed with people's will to respect others' beliefs and opinions, and their willingness on occasion to open up (suki o ataeru) and let others in.
Kobe is the city of style where a multitude of artistic forms of expression and values bloom. Come and encounter "suki" at KOBE Biennale 2015.


Title KOBE Biennale 2015: Encounters with Art in the Port
Period Sat, September 19 to Mon, November 23 (national holiday), 2015 (66 days)
*Higashi Yuenchi Park   Sat, September 19 to Sun, November 1, 2015
Main Venues Kobe Meriken Park/Harborland/Motomachi-Kohkashita area
Higashi Yuenchi Park* / Flower Road area
Museum Road zone (Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art, Yokoo Tadanori Museum of Contemporary Art, BB Plaza Museum of Art), and other sites
*Nighttime exhibitions only
Opening Hours Meriken Park Site 11:00~16:00 (Saturdays/Sundays/National Holidays11:00~17:00)
Harborland Site *It conform to the institution where artworks are installed.
Motomachi-Kohkashita Site 12:00~18:00
Higashi-Yuenchi Park Site sunset~21:00
Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art, Yokoo Tadanori Museum of Contemporary Art, BB Plaza Museum of Art 10:00~18:00(Closed on Mondays) *On Friday and Saturday, Yokoo Tadanori Contemporary Art Museum closed at 20:00.
*The others conform to each exhibition site or event area.
Budget approx. 300 million yen
Organized by The Organizing Committee for KOBE Biennale and the City of Kobe
With Assistance From Hyogo Prefectural Government
Official Website (in Japanese) http://kobe-biennale.jp

Main project sites

The main sites of KOBE Biennale 2015 include the Meriken Park/Harborland/Motomachi-Kohkashita area, which is one of the most symbolic waterfront areas of the port city of Kobe; the Higashi Yuenchi Park/Flower Road area, located in Sannomiya, Kobe's core and central business district; and the Museum Road zone, which spreads north and south connecting Chuo and Nada Wards. In addition, various Biennale projects will be held in other venues across the city.

Meriken Park/Harborland/Motomachi-Kohkashita Area

In Meriken Park, Harborland and Motomachi-Kohkashita, Kobe's symbolic waterfront spaces, outdoor exhibitions, such as SHITSURAI ART International Competition, and various art events will be held, taking advantage of the location and surrounding environment.

Higashi Yuenchi Park/Flower Road Area

Higashi Yuenchi Park is a downtown oasis to which the picturesque Flower Road decorated with seasonal flowers and sculptures stretches from Sannomiya. In this park, the Art in a Container International Competition and other nighttime exhibitions will be held.

Museum Road Zone

Stretching north and south between the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art and Oji Zoo, the Museum Road Zone is home to many art and cultural facilities. Various artworks will be exhibited at three museums in this zone: Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art, Yokoo Tadanori Museum of Contemporary Art, and BB Plaza Museum of Art.

Exhibitions and other projects

KOBE Biennale will feature exhibitions not only of modern art, but also of a wide spectrum of Art Culture genres, selected through competitions open to entries from the public. We aim to discover and nurture budding artists in diverse art genres. We also aim to showcase to the world and across Japan the city's strength in arts and culture, which has created new art expressions and values drawing upon its diversity and enterprising spirit.


Art in a Container International Competition Dry containers will be converted into unique exhibition spaces to house the Art in a Container International Competition. Artists will be challenged to use their boundless imagination to come up with an expression of the power and potential of art within the 40-foot confined container.
SHITSURAI ART International Competition Artists will be challenged to use their creativity and boundless imagination to create works of Japanese traditional "shitsurai" art--a set of furnishings for decorating a room or space--that make effective use of the waterfront setting.
Creative Toys International Competition We are soliciting innovative toys of artistic quality that use wood, paper, fabric, acrylic or other materials. Creators will be challenged to use their creativity, boundless imagination and novel techniques.
Comic Illustration International Competition With the spread of computer graphics and other new tools of expression, comic illustration is gaining popularity as a new genre of art. The comic illustration competition is designed to discover new talents in this genre.
Painting art Competition Creators will be challenged to effectively show their new-style drawings on a huge wall through the naïve pursuit of "painting pictures." We are soliciting new-style paintings that are vibrant and full of vitality.
Green art Competition Against the backdrop of growing calls for redefining the relationship between man and nature and pursing harmony with nature, we are soliciting works of art that use living plants.
Competition of modern ceramic art We are soliciting contemporary ceramic artworks characterized by the combination of traditional expression styles inherent in Japanese handicraft arts and novel design, whether traditional or avant-garde.
Exhibition of works by prize-winners Internationally and domestically renowned artists who received prizes in the competitions held during the four previous Biennales will be invited to exhibit their high-quality works of art.
Other competitions Competitions in various other genres of art will be held to discover and nurture emerging artists.

Exhibitions designed to showcase Kobe's assets

Exhibition of works by overseas guest artists Guest artists will be invited to Kobe from Tianjin, China, a friendship city of Kobe, and the Gwangju Biennale, an organization that the Kobe Biennale has signed a partnership agreement with.
Special exhibitions The Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art, Yokoo Tadanori Museum of Contemporary Art and other museums will hold unique exhibitions based on their respective characteristics.
Exhibition of future ikebana art and outdoor ikebana exhibition Ikebana artists will exhibit their artworks of flower arrangement that seek to impart modern expression in the newest styles while reaching the traditional mentality of Japanese ikebana art.
Exhibition of calligraphic art The world of calligraphy will be presented through exhibition of a wide range of works including traditional and innovative free-style works.
Exhibition of artists from Kobe, Hyogo This exhibition will show works created by Kobe-based artists each with a distinct style.
Art galleries and concerts in Kobe Art galleries, chapels, shrines and other local resources will be utilized to share and appreciate the artistic assets of Kobe.
Exhibition of artworks by disabled artists It is our fond hope that the wonderful artworks produced by disabled artists will help create a forum for communication and understanding. Exhibitions will be held on a broad scale in the hope of sparking a great network of interaction.
Exhibition of artworks by university students This exhibition is designed to develop abilities of young artists studying design at universities in Kobe and other areas by providing them with opportunities to exhibit their fresh and vibrant works.
Other exhibitions and shows Other exhibitions and shows will be held to present Kobe's unique lifestyle culture and various other artistic and cultural assets.


Collaborative project with the Design City of Kobe initiative In collaboration with the Design and Creative Center of Kobe (KIITO) and other organizations, we will promote activities to communicate the city's attractiveness in a comprehensive manner.
Interaction with other art projects and organizations We will actively interact with art projects being held in various parts of Japan, as well as with other art and cultural organizations.
Sponsorships We will sponsor and help promote events held by local citizens and art- and culture-related organizations that support the objectives of KOBE Biennale.
Establishment of KOBE Biennale CHEERS designed to promote citizen involvement KOBE Biennale CHEERS will be established to ensure that citizens learn about and participate in the planning, organization and implementation of KOBE Biennale drawing on their knowledge and experience.
Interaction opportunities We will provide citizens with opportunities to interact with participating artists by holding workshops and other events so that citizens can deepen their understanding of and interest in art and experience the joy of creating works.
Pre-Biennale, PR In collaboration with the Art de Genki Network Council, an organization that promotes networking of local art festivals and projects in Hyogo Prefecture, we will hold pre-Biennale events in the Shin-Nagata area and symposiums and other events to build public anticipation for KOBE Biennale.