The theme of this year's Yokohama Triennale is "Time Crevasse." While the title sounds vague, what's clear is that art aficionados who find themselves in the port city, just southwest of Tokyo, are in for a surprise.
Running until Nov. 30, Yokohama's third Triennale is one of the largest exhibitions of contemporary art ever staged in Japan and comprises the work of around 70 artists, including Matthew Barney, Yoko Ono, Jonathan Meese, Rei Naito and Mario García Torres. Many of the exhibits are edgy and performance-based (a characteristic heralded at the event's launch, when Italian artist Lorenzo Fiaschi took a sledgehammer to 16 large framed mirrors).
Among the more playful displays are Miranda July's The Hallway, in which handwritten cards suggest self-conscious but often humorous thoughts to viewers as they walk down a white corridor, and Tino Sehgal's living sculpture Kiss, created by an actual couple embracing and dancing.
There may be plenty of head-scratching elsewhere in Japan, but public art like this seems to suit Yokohama, says the Triennale's artistic director Tsutomu Mizusawa, who explains that the city has traditionally been outward-looking by virtue of being a port: "Yokohama's citizens are very open to other cultures and that's fitting for an international show."
For more information on exhibition times and venues, see www.yokohamatriennale.jp.