ICOM Kyoto 2019

25th ICOM General Conference

1-7 September 2019

Keynote Speeches


2 Sep. (Mon)


Kengo Kuma was born in 1954. He completed his master’s degree at the University of Tokyo in 1979. He established Kengo Kuma & Associates in 1990. He taught at Keio University as Professor, and in 2009 he was installed as Professor at the Graduate School of Architecture, the University of Tokyo.

Kuma was awarded with Architectural Institute of Japan Annual Award in 1997 for the Noh Stage in the Forest and Mainichi Art Award in 2010 for Nezu Museum. Recent works include Suntory Museum of Art, Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center, Nagaoka City Hall Aore, Kabukiza, Besancon Art Center and Cite de la Musique, FRAC Marseille and V&A Dundee. Kengo Kuma & Associates are also working on the New National Stadium Japan along with Taisei Corporation and Azusa Sekkei Co., Ltd.

He has also written numerous books and most of the titles have been translated into Chinese and Korean. His major writings, Anti-Object, Natural Architecture, Small Architecture have been published in English from AA Publications, the book department of AA School, UK’s prestigious architecture institution.



Speech Title:
The Age of Forest  Details

The Age of Forest

Date: Mon. 2 Sep. 10:55-11:25
Venue: Main Hall, Kyoto International Conference Center

In the 20th century, human beings began to undervalue the force of nature. All of us lost reverence for nature and misunderstood as if we could control everything.

Japanese people used to know the way to deal with nature. There was no use in trying to confront with it. It is not an opponent that you could win over. You survive and live with the nature only by understanding and respecting it, and that wisdom stopped locals to build houses below a certain height.

However, throughout the 20th century, people shifted toward concrete and steel, to construct “big and strong” architecture made of “strong” materials. Traditional buildings in wood, stone or earth were considered “weak” and “outdated.” Such modern architecture in the international style which was dominated by concrete and steel severed ties between human beings and their places.

We are living in a post-industrial age in which “places/locations” play the leading role. The industrial age with the framework of the production of “things” and “nations” has ended. The world has changed to an age where the “power of small places” is being reviewed. Architecture is changing into an intermediary that connects people and places again. Museums are also required to be important tools to reinforce the tie between people and places. V&A Dundee we designed was created based on such idea.

In the lecture I will discuss how I design architecture in the change of time, from the “Age of Concrete” to the “Age of Forest.”

Mon. 2 Sep. 10:55-11:25
Main Hall, Kyoto International Conference Center

Photo by Kengo Kuma & Associates

V&A Dundee(Scotland, UK)

V&A Dundee(Scotland, UK)
Photo by Hufton+Crow

梼原 木橋ミュージアム

Yusuhara Wooden Bridge Museum
Photo by Takumi Ota



3 Sep. (Tue)

Sebastião Salgado

Sebastiao Salgado, born in 1944 in Minas Gerais, Brazil, lives in Paris. Having studied economics, he began his career as a professional photographer in 1973 in Paris, working with photo agencies until 1994, when he and Lelia Wanick Salgado formed Amazonas images, created exclusively for his work. Today this structure is their studio.

He travelled in over 100 countries for his photographic projects. Beyond press publications, his main works were presented in books. Touring exhibitions of these works have been, and continue to be, presented in museums and galleries throughout the world.

Salgado is currently working on a photographic project on the theme of the Brazilian Amazon forest and its inhabitants, the indigenous communities. This work will be presented in the form of books and exhibitions in 2021.

Sebastiao Salgado has been awarded numerous photographic prizes in recognition of his accomplishments. He is the recipient of prestigious honors, such as the Grand Prix National, Ministry of Culture and French-Speaking Countries, France. In 2016, Salgado was elected member of the Academie des Beaux-Arts of Institut de France, and was named Chevalier (Knight) de la Legion d’Honneur, France. Salgado is an honorary member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences in USA. In 2019 Salgado was elected Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, USA and he received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, Germany.

©Yann Arthus-Bertrand

Speech Title:
A Brazilian Amazon Forest Initiative  Details

A Brazilian Amazon Forest Initiative

Date: Tue. 3 Sep. 9:00-10:00
Venue: Main Hall, Kyoto International Conference Center

Much has been written about the destruction of the Amazon forest, about the burning of large swathes of primary jungle to make way for cattle farms and soybean plantations, the poisoning of rivers by freelance gold miners and the penetration of virgin territory by illegal loggers. All this and more is true.

Yet if vast tracts of the world’s greatest tropical rainforest have been destroyed, in Brazil alone over 81 percent of it remains untouched. And it is the shared responsibility of Brazil to preserve what remains. The urgency to do so has led us to promote an initiative to develop new and creative forms of protection and sustainable management of the Amazon region. In this, as age-old guardians of the forest, its indigenous peoples can – and already do – play a central role.

Deforestation is an undeniable reality and it is most acute on government or privately-owned landBut even here, over 60 percent of the forest cover remains intact. To explore this undamaged legacy, we have undertaken a lengthy photographic journey to record the lives of the indigenous peoples who live in harmony with the Brazilian Amazon forest. I have photographed tribes among which the Kuikuro, Kamayura and Waura in the Alto Xingú region as well as the Zoé, Awá, Yanomami, Ashaninka, Yawanawa, Suruwará and Korubo ethnic groups in the heart of the Amazon.

Along the way, we are building up an even broader archive of the entire region, with ground and aerial photographs of the complex maze of winding tributaries that feed the Amazon and the dramatic changes of their water levels in wet and dry seasons as well as aerial images of both the virgin forest and plumes of smoke rising thousands of feet where jungle is still being torched.

Our hope is that the resulting book and exhibitions can serve as a catalyst for raising awareness of the need to protect the Amazon forest and its native population and for generating new approaches to exploiting its natural and human resources without further damaging them.

Tue. 3 Sep. 9:00-10:00
Main Hall, Kyoto International Conference Center
Chemical sprays protect this fire fighter against the heat of the flames.

Chemical sprays protect this fire fighter against the heat of the flames.
Greater Burhan, after the Gulf War. Kuwait, 1991.

Korubo members of the Pinu family.

Korubo members of the Pinu family.
Indigenous territory of the Javari Valley. State of Amazonas, Brazil. 2017.

Group of Waura fishing in the Piulaga Lake.

Group of Waura fishing in the Piulaga Lake. Upper Xingu, Mato Grosso Brazil. 2005.



4 Sep. (Wed)


Cai Guo-Qiang is an artist born in 1957 in Quanzhou, China. He was trained in stage design at the Shanghai Theatre Academy from 1981 to 1985, and his work has since crossed multiple mediums within art including drawing, installation, video, and performance. Cai began to experiment with gunpowder in his hometown Quanzhou, and continued exploring its properties while living in Japan from 1986 to 1995. This inquiry eventually led to the development of his signature outdoor explosion events. Drawing upon Eastern philosophy and contemporary social issues as a conceptual basis, his artworks respond to culture and history and establish an exchange between viewers and the larger universe around them. His explosion art and installations are imbued with a force that transcends the two-dimensional plane to engage with society and nature.

Cai was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 1999, the Hiroshima Art Prize in 2007, and the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize in 2009. In 2012, he was honored as a Laureate for the prestigious Praemium Imperiale, and in the same year, he was named as one of the five artists to receive the first U.S. Department of State Medal of Arts for his outstanding commitment to international cultural exchange. He currently lives and works in New York.


Cai Guo-Qiang in front of his work Color Gunpowder Drawing for City of Flowers in the Sky: Daytime Explosion Event for Florence, Uffizi Galleries, 2018.
Photo by Yvonne Zhao, courtesy Cai Studio

Speech Title:
My Museum Years  Details

My Museum Years

Date: Wed. 4 Sep. 10:30-11:00
Venue: Main Hall, Kyoto International Conference Center

Cai Guo-Qiang recounts how he has interacted with the museum system over the past several decades through a series of projects across the globe. These include his current solo exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, which is taking place in conjunction with their exhibition of the famed Terracotta Warriors; his Everything is Museum projects that founded a series of museums in Iwaki, Fukushima and other areas considered difficult by contemporary trends in museum-building; his solo exhibitions at major institutions of Western Art—the Pushkin in Moscow, the Prado in Madrid, the Uffizi in Florence, and the National Archaeological Museum of Naples; as well as his curated exhibition Non-Brand 非品牌, with works drawn from the collection of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

How do museum classics inspire artistic adventures today, and how do museum curators act as “shamans” to connect artists with art history? How do we build museums that will be embraced by the local public, as opposed to those that are merely cultural tourism brands for foreigners? What is the role of the museum for local communities, particularly in an age where erecting museums has become fashionable on a global scale and contemporary art increasingly refined and elitist?

Wed. 4 Sep. 10:30-11:00
Main Hall, Kyoto International Conference Center
Color Gunpowder Drawing for City of Flowers in the Sky

Color Gunpowder Drawing for City of Flowers in the Sky: Daytime Explosion Event for Florence, 2018
Photo by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio

Footprints of History: Fireworks Project for the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

Footprints of History: Fireworks Project for the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, 2008
Photo by Hiro Ihara, courtesy Cai Studio

Heritage, 2013

Heritage, 2013
Photograph: Natasha Harth, QAGOMA
Courtesy: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art