Kenji KUZE (Japan)
Former President of
Kanazawa College of Art
The Preliminary Assessment was conducted based on digital images of 234 works submitted from abroad and 123 works from Japan. At the beginning of the Preliminary Assessment all the jurors took an unhurried, general view of about 1000 images of 357 works in total, and thereafter we checked the sizes, techniques and inspiration. Our assessment of the submitted works came about through repeated exchanges of each juror’s opinions.
Out of all the submitted works, 29 works from abroad and 32 works from Japan were selected and sent to the Final Assessment. At this point, it became apparent that the ratio of the selected works submitted from Japan was much higher than from any other country. The enthusiasm in experimental challenge, diverse artistic expressions and high level of technique demonstrated by the Japanese artists justified their selection.
At the start of the Preliminary Assessment, as I was taking a general view of about 1000 images, I noticed something. I thought that a particular work looked vaguely familiar due to my impression of its artistic expression. When a certain work looks vaguely familiar, I cannot help assessing it strictly, by closely examining comparable and different features of its artistic expression, because usually at a competition originality and creativity are valued very highly. If the work is a copy, it is out of the question. When the artist has submitted previously, we have to compare the submitted work with the previous work. If we recognize a clear development in expression and technique, the work can be eligible for selection at the Final Assessment and moreover it can even become an award winner.
The competition values the principle of competing through originality of expression. Therefore, the artists repeat experiments and trials, overcome failures many times, go beyond their limits, and aim at an originality of their own. However, once they receive validation of their works from others, they tend to submit works created only within their particular style. While doing so, they sometimes continue in that style, without realizing that their originality has lost its freshness and they are no longer developing. I feel strongly the necessity of constantly maintaining a keenly-honed logical and objective judgement toward one’s own works as well as those of others.