In 2008, ChimPom made a skywriting of the word "PIKA!" in the sky above the A-Bomb Dome in Hiroshima for "Making the Sky of Hiroshima 'PIKA!'" project, which developed into a dispute and brought about cancellation of a solo exhibition to be held at Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art. Having published a book reporting and investigating the dispute, ChimPom has continued to produce many works on Hiroshima and nuclear issues. The exhibition "HIROSHIMA!" has traveled around with those works, counting up with adding an "!" in the end each time.
On October 21st 2008, Chim↑Pom was preparing 'Making the Sky of Hiroshima “PIKA!”' for a solo-show to be held at the museum studio of Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art. Having chartered a skywriting plane, they had planned to write the word “PIKA!” with a vapor trail in the sky above the A-bomb dome and make a photo and video documentary of the event. However on the following day, the "Chugoku Shimbun" newspaper published an article strongly condemning the act, along with a photo taken by a citizen who witnessed it. In response to the voices of outraged citizens and A-Bomb victim organization representatives saying the act was “unpleasant,” the article claimed that “PIKA!” reminds people of “PIKA DON,” and thus, was a very shortsighted artistic decision by the group.
This news was soon reported on by a number of other online and print media outlets, growing into such a controversial social issue that Chim↑Pom eventually came to make a public apology for their “lack of advance announcement” in front of A-Bomb victim organization representatives. The planned solo show had to be canceled as “voluntarily refrained.” At that time, Chim↑Pom lost the opportunity to show it as their latest work to the public.
On the other hand, Cai Guo-Qiang's "Black Fireworks : Project for Hiroshima" conducted on October 25th, which set off 1200 black fireworks near the A-Bomb dome, won the highest praise from media outlets. This work was a part of the anniversary exhibition of the Hiroshima Art Prize hosted in the same Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art.
Later, Chim↑Pom united with those A-Bomb victim organizations and began preparing 'Why Can't We Make the Sky of Hiroshima “PIKA!”', a book investigating the series of disputes through interviews with the organizations and contributions from critics, artists, and the like, which was then published in the following year, March 2009. Much more than an ordinary art book, it also examines the contrast between the United States and Japan on their positive and negative understanding of the A-Bomb, between the victors who brought WWII to an end and the defeated who experienced the A-Bomb's effects, and political aspects of Hiroshima behind its international appeal as the A-Bomb site. The book also suggests differences, perhaps due to a gap in generations, between Chim↑pom and many other artists who deal with the A-Bomb as a motif, such as Yukinori Yanagi or Takashi Murakami for instance. incidentally, the work 'Making the Sky of Hiroshima “PIKA!”' was eventually displayed at Maruki Gallery For The Hiroshima Panels (Saitama), a museum dedicated to housing $$The Hiroshima Panels,$$ the most famous anti-war A-Bomb art by the couple Iri & Toshi Maruki.
Text : Kenichi ABE (Editor)
*Note: “PIKA DON” is a mimetic word created by A-Bomb survivors, who had not known even the word “atomic bomb” at the time, expressing what they experienced in the explosion with “PIKA” as the flash and “DON” as the roaring blast that followed. Later, the sound “PIKA” alone came to be established as a word for the A-Bomb.
Countless number of origami cranes are sent to Hiroshima City from all over the world. This is originated from the true story of a Japanese girl who was diagnosed with leukaemia after being exposed to radiation from the bombing of Hiroshima and kept folding origami cranes wishing for health and peace, based on the legend that a wish comes true when the number of a crane reaches to one thousand. Ever since, Hiroshima receives vast amount of one thousand origami cranes and it has become as if a world collection of prayers each expressing an intimate wish for world peace. Hiroshima, however, has been facing a practical problem to preserve ever-increasing amounts of cranes.
The project comprises the following procedure:
Large quantity of origami cranes are received from Hiroshima City
Each crane is unfolded by Ellie
The unfolded cranes are refolded by visitors to the gallery
The refolded cranes are sent back to Hiroshima City
Each origami crane holds peace in its meaning, Chim↑Pom on the contrary, unfolding each wish. The reaction appears counteracting each other, but the endless loop of destruction and peace should be beyond an act of prayer and the endless loop is inevitably everlasting challenge.
Performance will be shown for two hours daily, sometime during the exhibition.
Material is provided by Hiroshima City
The history of humanThe history of human20152015 performance, workshop and origami paper
--- なぜ広島の空をピカッとさせてはいけないのかWhy Can’t We Make the Sky of Hiroshima “PIKA!”? open
investigates not the work Making the Sky of Hiroshima “PIKA!” itself, but themes of “A-bomb/war,” “contemporary society,” and “expression” through various “PIKA!” disputes, as it was published prior to the public exhibition of the work.
なぜ広島の空をピカッとさせてはいけないのかthe book Naze Hiroshima No Sora Wo PIKA! To Saseteha Ikenainoka (Why Can’t We Make the Sky of Hiroshima “PIKA!”?Chim↑Pom・阿部謙一 編 発行:無人島プロダクション 2009Edited by Chim↑Pom and Abe Kenichi, MUJIN-TO Production, 2009
--- ヒロシマの空をピカッとさせるMaking the Sky of Hiroshima “PIKA!” open
広島・原爆ドームの上空に、飛行機雲で「ピカッ」という文字を描いた作品。広島の風景 に漫画の1コマのような擬態語を描き、ゆっく りと消えていく様子に記憶の風化を重ねることで、戦後日本の平和に対する現代的な歴史観を映し出した。
Writing the word “PIKA!” in a vapor trail in the sky above the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima, this work put a mimetic word in the scenery of Hiroshima reminiscent of a panel from a comic book, layering the disappearing vapor trail on the decay of memories, as an expression of contemporary historical understanding of peace in postwar Japan.
広島の空をピカッとさせるMaking the sky of Hiroshima“PIKA!”2009 ビデオ(5分35秒)、ラムダプリント2009 video (5’ 35”), lambda print 66.7×100cm
--- リアル千羽鶴Real Thousand Cranes open
This project aims at producing 1000 life-size realistic crane (gures one by one as a commissioned work from individuals and organizations. Hiroshima receives a number of origami cranes from all over the world, and this can be seen as “a collection of human prayers” all made in the identical design each expressing an intimate wish for peace. Ever time someone orders a crane, this project also produces a plate engraved with his/her prayer. Art collection and human prayer are connected together under the name of “Senbazuru” [a thousand cranes, a symbol of prayers for recover in Japan].
リアル千羽鶴Real Thousand Cranes2008 FRP、羽、折り紙、祈りのプレート、ほか2008 FRP, feathers, origami, prayer plates, etc.