Thursday, January 10, 2008

There is Japan and there is foreign and no other distinctions

Oh, there might be a Japan and then an America in some ways---often people actually mean the US when they talk about the West or foreign, but generally there seems to be no distinction when it comes to foreign. One barely read a single article, either in English or Japanese where this sort of myth, does not exist:

Though this may sound trite, many critics have said in the past that the major difference between Japanese and foreign artists is their approach to their creative process. To put it bluntly, Japanese artists are often super-organized where many foreign ones have celebrated being messy. Western artists find this "process over product" philosophy awe-inspiringly "Zen" and ritualistic. JTOnline by MANAMI OKAZAKI.

So, Chinese and French and Bangladeshi artists are all the same, but Japan and only Japan is unique. Uniquely unique. Notice how "foreign" morphs into "Western" at the end. And of course, the Westerners are all fascinated by the Zen-ness of it all. Interestingly, all of the Japanese artists interviewed for the article disassociated themselves and their art from Japan or Japanese-ness. Okazaki, using unnamed and mysterious "many critiques" as the source, came up with the dichotomy between Japan and all else. And notice this: The article is about Japanese artists in New York, but in the end it is still the non-Japanese who are "foreign."

Must resist the urge to vomit. Must.

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