Art Project

Praying for Tokyo

Rei Naito

The March 10, 1945 Tokyo air raids are often called the “Shitamachi (downtown) air raids” (The death toll reached over 100,000). While atomic bombs were dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it was the tactic of causing catastrophic damage to large cities that resulted in Japan’s ultimate defeat in the war. Looking back from today on the city and people of Tokyo’s past, this is how we truly pray for requiem. In other words, this is to maintain the present without repeating tragedies in history. _Here, visitors will experience Rei Naito’s creation of space and its guidance toward prayer.

(As of March 2020)

1: “Untitled” 2009(2008-)、Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura、Photo by Naoya Hatakeyama
2: “human” 2012、KURENBOH、Photo by Naoya Hatakeyama
3: “human” 2012、KURENBOH、Photo by Naoya Hatakeyama


Rei Naito (Artist)

Born 1961 in Hiroshima. Naito is an artist whose major exhibitions include, “One Place on the Earth” (Sagacho Exhibit Space, 1991), “the emotion of belief” (Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum, 2014), “Two Lives” (Tel Aviv Museum of Art, 2017), and “Rei Naito: on this bright Earth I see you” (Art Tower Mito, 2018). She has created permanent artworks, “Being Given” (Art House Project Kinza, Naoshima, 2001) and “Matrix” (Teshima Art Museum, 2010). In 2011, she began work on “hito” (the making of small human shaped sculptures), which has now been shown in Tokyo, Hiroshima, Okinawa, New York, and Berlin.

photo: Satoshi Nagare  Courtesy of Taka Ishii Gallery

《Praying for Tokyo》

“If the axis of time were turned vertically, there would be a flow from Tokyo’s past to its future. If it were viewed horizontally, there would be an axis showing the connections between people and spaces. Standing at this intersection, we realize our present state of confusion. Without forgetting the tregedies of the past, what can we do today to move toward our future? Let’s start by praying together, with art.” (Kazuko Koike)

Together with three female artists – Rei Naito, Aiko Miyanaga, and Shino Yanai – the project will create “spaces of prayer”, providing requiems of the past from each Tokyo community, that are dedicated to our future.

Aiko Miyanaga

The Hijiri Bridge was built over the Kanda River in summer 1927 to commemorate the Great Kanto Earthquake. Flanking its northern side is the former Edo shogunate building known as, “Yushima Seido”, while on its southern side sits the Byzantine-styled Holy Resurrection Cathedral (Orthodox Church in Japan) known as Nikolai-do. It is a bridge between Eastern and Western cultures. Inside the corridor of Yushima Seido, said to be the origin of libraries, artist Aiko Miyanaga will place glass books and special materials that echo them, as well as an ancient sanukite rock. It is an installation dedicated to sanctity.

Shino Yanai

Up-and-coming artist Shino Yanai investigates the relationship between the movement of human bodies and tendencies of society. The artist is also concentrating on both the heightened nationalism worldwide, and the growing solidarity resulting from the Coronavirus outbreak. The work is an exercise in realizing the gestures and conventions moulded into society on a daily level without us noticing. These expressions of performance, while focusing on actions that function to preserve the collective, call for the body to train in becoming aware of them.

Art Project