To the extent that it exists in the popular consciousness, contemporary art is frequently associated with ideas of “newness” and “antitradition.” This is partly to do with the legacy of the early 20th-century Dada movement. Responding to the social ferment surrounding World War I, the Dadaists rejected received values of art and beauty, which they associated with capitalist ideology, and invented radical new approaches to creative expression. Ironically, in doing so the Dadaists set a precedent that scores of subsequent artists have since followed.
However, a new exhibition at the Kanazawa 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art challenges this perceived schism between history and contemporaneity. Titled “Alternative Humanities,” the exhibition brings together two established artists who each engage with the artistic traditions of their respective countries: Belgium’s Jan Fabre and Japan’s Katsura Funakoshi.