I met Ei Arakawa at the opening for Skulpturprojekte Muenster in 2017 for the first time. I already was fascinated by the work I saw in the Gallery Meyer Kainer in Vienna before that.
He cooked together with some artists a dinner at a friend’s house, where I stayed to visit the opening of this exhibition. It was fabulous, wonderful food from all over the world, from Japan, Georgia, Italy… lots of wine, it was fun.
Ei is an artist who always works in dialog and thus in teams. He works with other artists, musicians, composers, performers etc. Ei’s class 2018 performed several times publicly, f.e. in the Kunstverein at an opening. The performances were funny, well performed, super interesting stories. All in all fun for everybody, the performers and the public alike. The photo above shows from left to right: Seamus Kealy, the director and curator of the Salzburg Kunstverein at the opening 2018, myself, Caroline Achaintre and Ei’s two co-teachers Noële Ody and Christian Naujoks.
2019 he’s in Salzburg for the second time. Ei is a wonderful open minded teacher. He develops a structure for his course within which the participants have the freedom to try out, whatever they want. This year he’ll explore how the magic meets the conceptual. He says: “What we call ‘the magic’ are esoteric knowledge systems (e.g. astrology/tarot), supernatural phenomena, pre-modern rituals, and illusions. But this does not mean that we delusionally exclude science and Western modernity. By mixing the magic and the modern perspective, we critique the condition of our contemporary society.”
"For me, the International Summer Academy is a very special place. The intensive, creative and inspiring atmosphere in all our activities never ceases to fascinate me. Artists come to us – as teachers and students – from all over the world, taking advantage of this summer time-slot to concentrate exclusively on production, reflection and presentation, far removed from their everyday life. Disillusionment and re-enchantment, downfall and upswing – all this is possible; there emerge not only exceptional works of art, but also friendships and networks that often last a lifetime. The long-term project Global/Planetary Academy is at present my main objective. Its aim is to further establish the Summer Academy as a hotspot for global art, tackling relevant questions and strengthening worldwide connections. The project focuses on questions of how art can be learned and taught in the globalised world."