Mission of the museum
The museum will exhibit experimental art, and aim to be a dynamic cultural hub that shares
contemporary creative expression and sensibilities with the public and connects people to new
inspiration and ideas. With regard to organizing of special exhibitions and acquisition of works, the Hirosaki Museum of Contemporary Art will focus on the following three areas.
1. Works that interact with the architecture of the Brick Warehouse and stimulate new creativity
The museum aims to preserve the architectural memory and deliver new spatial experiences of the Brick Warehouse, a modern industrial heritage site.
2. Works that promote engagement with Hirosaki and the Tohoku region, and draw inspiration from its nature, history and narratives
The museum aims to develop new possibilities in the region and revive its history.
3. Works that open our eyes to present and future possibilities
The museum will explore new technologies, production methods, intercultural exchange, and changing forms of art.
Characteristics of the museum
― “To create artworks,” “To display artworks,” and “To store artworks and leave them on history”
We put importance on creation suited for architecture and local communities, and display completed works. We also store them. Through these processes, we develop a collection unique to Hirosaki.
― Different rhythms for display, and flexible use of space
In order to bring out the full potential of the brick warehouse, we use space freely and flexibly. Each work is displayed for different time period ranging from short-term to long-term, to constitute an annual program.
About the brick warehouse
In the Meiji or Taisho period, the entrepreneur Tosuke Fukushima built a brick warehouse as a sake brewery in a place where there had existed the apple orchard, etc. of Tojiro Kusumi, who contributed to the growth of the apple industry in Aomori. Around that time, Fukushima explained the reason for choosing the brick structure, “Even if my business fails, it will be good if these buildings are utilized as heritages for the future of the city.”
After the war, the entrepreneur Isamu Yoshii traveled to Europe for studying the apple processing business. After encountering cider (sparkling apple liquor) in France, he founded Asahi Cider Co., Ltd. and mass-produced cider for the first time in Japan in 1954. The business was taken over by Nikka Whisky Co., Ltd., and the brick warehouse had been used as Hirosaki Factory of Nikka Whisky until 1965. Through the subsequent factory relocation, the brick warehouse ended its role as a factory for producing cider, and started to play a role of storing emergency rice stocks of the government, etc.
In 2002, Chiyoko Yoshii, the then president of Yoshii Shuzo Co., Ltd., met Yoshitomo Nara, a modern artist, and his exhibition was held by citizens of the city. This attracted public attention. Then, in 2015, Hirosaki City acquired the building, and started transforming it into a facility for fine arts and culture.
-Past and present of the brick warehouse
The brick warehouse was renovated as a museum, but it still has traces of the cider factory.
Collection of Fukushima Family
Collection of THE NIKKA WHISKY DISTILLING CO. LTD.
The architect Tsuyoshi Tane oversaw the renovation of the historic brick warehouse. Under the concept of “succession of memories,” a new museum was born for passing the memories of the building down to the future, based on the design for reinforcing aseismic performance and preserving the inner and outer existing brick walls. For its roofs, titanium materials, which are durable and corrosion-resistant in cold regions, were adopted. The cider-gold roof, which changes according to the light angle, is a symbol of the museum, and makes the townscape colorful.
© NAOYA HATAKEYAMA
Tane Tsuyoshi is a Japanese architect based in Paris. He started Atelier Tsuyoshi Tane Architects in 2017 after being co-founder of DGT Architects in 2006 and previously working in London, Denmark and Japan. He is recognized as one of the emerging architects of a new generation for a series of award-winning projects and buildings such as the Estonian National Museum, Kofun Stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, LIGHT is TIME, and many others. His concept of “Archaeology of the Future” involves the site-specific memory of a place that connects its past to its future. Tane has received numerous awards and honors, including the French Ministry of Culture Architecture Prize, French Architects Overseas Grand Prix, Estonian Cultural Endowment Grand Prix, nomination for the European Union Mies van der Rohe Award 2017 and the 67th Minister of Education Award for Fine Arts Newcomer’s Award. He frequently gives public talks and lectures, and has been teaching at Columbia University GSAPP and ESVMD.
The museum logo, with several variations, is by graphic designer Hattori Kazunari.
A distinguishing characteristic of the logo is an “H” element, standing for Hirosaki, at the top that extends for the length of the name’s text. The “H,” which extends and contracts in accordance with text, indicates the axis of time, evoking the Brick Warehouse, which stores the memories of local residents, being transformed into an art museum and flourishing in the future. All or some of the letters ascend from left to right, conveying an image of moving around the museum, and also relating to movement of the heart and mind uplifted by encountering art.
HATTORI Kazunari[Graphic designer]
Hattorif Kazunari was born in 1964. After working at advertising firm Light Publicity, he became a freelance graphic designer. Hattori’s portfolio includes advertisements for Kewpie Half, art direction for the magazines Ryuko Tsushin, Here and There, and Mayonaka, visual identity planning for the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum, Tokyo and Niigata City Art Museum, and artwork for the rock band Quruli. Honors include the Mainichi Design Prize, the Kamekura Yusaku Design Award, the ADC Award, and the TDC Grand Prix.