GEISAI#22 & Classic

A new challenge for GEISAI#22

We are holding GEISAI #22 on April 30, 2023. As with the previous event, we will be accepting participants under the age of 30. Jurors will select the artists who will each receive a cash prize and be invited to hold an exhibition at a small gallery Kaikai Kiki operates in Nakano.

On the same day, we are launching a new GEISAI event. Called GEISAI Classic, it will be an experimental event limited to those 30 and over. We don’t have the details yet, but since we are booking a large event venue and making significant efforts to attract many participants and visitors for GEISAI already, I thought it would be logical to also provide an opportunity for those 30 and over to present their works on the occasion. For this portion of the event, there won’t be a jury and its purpose will only be the presentation of artworks.

I can anticipate various sorts of complaints we might hear, but if this event isn’t to your liking there are many other public exhibitions and competitions to apply to. There’s no reason you should participate in this one if it doesn’t suit you to begin with.

Having held GEISAI #21 after the 8-year hiatus, I feel convinced that even a small business like ours should continue incubating young talents as long as the money lasts. The artists who managed to make their debut through GEISAI in the past were often disgusted with me and behaved in terrible manners. I had invested my own money to hold these events and our staff was always trying to be as helpful as possible, yet these egotistical aspiring artists would do nothing but to nitpick and complain; I lost my motivation, fed up with the pointless and constant friction with them. But I should have paid proper attention to the fact that many artists had been able to debut through these events, rather than get bogged down in such petty matters.

Having said that, when we held #21, some weird people came attacking us, and we had to strengthen security with metal detectors at the entrances and inspections of personal belongings. We also had to hire dozens of tough-looking security personnels. But if asked whether we should go to such lengths in order to keep the event going, I would say we should: the times have changed, and we must bet on helping the young people who will create the future.

I also decided to open the doors for those who are over 30 and are hoping to grasp a chance, and that’s why we are holding GEISAI Classic. GEISAI is not a public exhibition that calls on like-minded colleagues, nor is it an event aiming to court repeaters who make their presentations at the event their goals. So our plan is to screen the form applications to decide who will be able to participate. This is all experimental as it’s the first time we are adopting this format; we’ll continue to fine tune as we go.

There are ways of realizing artists' debuts and of guiding them that only we can do. And so I decided to continue to hold this event as long as I have the money and energy to do so.

Thank you for your interest.

Takashi Murakami
(Artist/President, Kaikai Kiki)