This catalogue focuses on an immersive one-year project in Portugal, centered around questions of global ecology and tourism. Kawamata's large scale installation integrates both plastic residues and abandoned boats collected on Portugal's shores during beach cleaning campaigns. The publication features a text by the artist, exhibition views, and a section documenting related projects made by Kawamata throughout his career.
Tadashi Kawamata's project at MAAT is a three-fold endeavour. The installation is the consequence of years of the artist's investigations into questions regarding ocean ecology, natural catastrophe, and ecological catastrophe, all of which he has explored during his career in site specific works around the world. On the other hand, the work produced in Lisbon is preceded by a thorough engagement with the found, site-specific situation, which Kawamata has been exploring over the course of many visits and data collections in Lisbon in the past year. The debris which flows into this installation was collected on the coast near Lisbon in 2018, as a part of a series of campaigns conducted by Brigada do Mar—a volunteer organisation which regularly contributes to the cleaning of the beaches of Portugal. From them we learn about a global circulation of garbage in the world's seas: what we find on the shores of Portugal is waste produced by many continents. The boats shipwrecked inside Kawamata's installation also speak to questions related to global tourism and its fatal consumption of natural resources. Deposited in the warehouses of the town hall of Almada, which generously supported this project, these found mountains of garbage have also passed through the Espacialistas laboratory, a team of architects and researchers who, in collaboration with Tadashi Kawamata, studied the hybrid configurations that the ocean, its movements and artificial components progressively formed from the waste fragments. Applying principles found in these fusion pieces produced by the ocean, a student workshop and Espacialistas created new modules, which the artist incorporated into his installation.
Published on the occasion of the eponymous exhibition at MAAT – Museu de Arte, Arquitetura e Tecnologia, Lisbon, from October 4, 2018, to April 1, 2019.
Tadashi Kawamata (born 1953 in Japan, lives and works in Tokyo and Paris) has made in situ art throughout the world and was artistic director of the Yokohama Triennale in 2005.
His work concerns itself with architectural space as an urban or designed social context or product.
A careful study of the human relations that define it and the way of life which results from it allows him each time to
determine progressively the nature of his project.
His pieces, for the most part temporary, are generally made from timber sometimes from salvage material from the
Tadashi Kawamata's pieces recreate connections between the past and the present, between outside and inside, between
the actual and the potential: they reveal another identity to the spaces, highlighting the invisible but quite real aspect of
their cultural and social dimension. The creation of a community with which he shares the research and physical work is
the drive and basis for each of his projects, as we can see with the experience of Saint-Thélo.