PARCO Collaborative Exhibition Expressed The World of “Star Wars”

Hypebeast sat down for an Interview with Masashi Nanzuka, the curator of this exhibition of gems by artists fascinated by the Star Wars universe.

Art 
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PARCO, which celebrates its 55th anniversary this year, is now hosting the “STAR WARS G.W. COLLECTION,” featuring the globally popular Star Wars movie as part of its Golden Week vacation campaign. The campaign was held from Friday, April 26 to Sunday, May 12 at 16 PARCO stores nationwide and Sanei Urasoe West Coast, PARCO CITY. In addition to selling special items created under the Star Wars theme, featuring 26 brands including “kolor” and “beautiful people,” the campaign also featured the first 4K screening of Star Wars: The Phantom/Menace (Episode 1), exhibitions, pop-ups and various other events.

As the highlight of this campaign, “STAR WARS EXHIBITION — PASSION, STRENGTH and POWER”, curated by NANZUKA, opened in Tokyo. The exhibition also toured at Parco Shinsaibashi in Osaka from May 17th to June 3rd. Thirteen artists from around the world, including Hiroki Tsukuda who created the key visual for the exhibition, James Jarvis, Hajime Sorayama, and Daniel Arsham, contributed works. Ryuichi Ohira also created large-scale sculptures of “Darth Vader” and “Millennium Falcon” which were exhibited as public art. Hypebeast visited the Tokyo venue of the “STAR WARS EXHIBITION — PASSION, STRENGTH and POWER,” which already attracted a great deal of attention from fans. We interviewed Mr. Masashi Nanzuka, a representative of “NANZUKA” and the curator of this exhibition, and discussed the background and inspiration of this exhibition and the relationship between Star Wars and art.

The Tokyo venue for “STAR WARS — PASSION, STRENGTH and POWER” is the “PARCO MUSEUM TOKYO,” located on the 4th floor of “Shibuya PARCO”. Within this exhibition, various characters from the Star Wars series were represented by each artist through his or her own lens, and the venue itself was a dark space reflecting the mystical world of the movie. There were even booths selling items commemorating the exhibition, making it an experience that could be enjoyed not only by core fans but also by new fans to the franchise.

Shinji Nanzuka (NANZUKA Director)

PARCO Collaborative Exhibition Expresses The World of “Star Wars” Featuring Various Artist's Works

Hypebeast: First of all, congratulations on the exhibition! Can you tell us the story behind the realization of this exhibition?

Masashi Nanzuka: Three years ago, this same team held an exhibition called “Mickey Mouse: Now and Future.” I asked the team that did the exhibition if they wanted to work together. After many twists and turns since then, the “STAR WARS EXHIBITION — PASSION, STRENGTH and POWER” was realized.

Were you already a fan of Star Wars?

Of course, I love it!

Do you remember your first encounter with the Star Wars series?

I don’t remember exactly, but it was probably when I was in the early grades of elementary school, in the mid-1980s. I think I saw it on TV. It was a huge shock to me as a child. I was like, ‘Wow, there is a movie that depicts the world of space in such a realistic way!’

You are referring to “Episode IV: A New Hope,” the first film in the order of its release, right?

I was a kid, so I honestly don’t think I understood the story very well, but I was just fascinated by the overwhelming scale of the images. The spaceships flying and shooting at each other, and the glowing lightsabers; it was a dream world for a young boy.

Was there a character who left a strong impression on you?

By far, Darth Vader. His pitch-black form and his overwhelming power as a villain who used the Force to throw his opponents away came through the screen, and I found myself captivated by him, along with the theme song.

Does Darth Vader still fascinate you today?

After I became an adult, I learned that Star Wars is not just a story of good and evil, but that Vader also has parental love and conflicts, and that he was influenced by the design of Japanese armor from the Warring States period. Which I still find most fascinating from an artistic perspective. It is well known that Lucas reveres Akira Kurosawa as his mentor and references “Seven Samurai,” but I think that Vader is an important character that is not in “Seven Samurai”.

Looking at this exhibition, it seemed that not only Mr. Minamizuka but also all of the participating artists were fascinated by the dark side.

I think that films that put the dark side in the limelight and depict its context as an important theme appeal to the artist’s soul. For this exhibition, I asked all the artists to choose their favorite character, and Vader was the most popular.

How do you interpret “PASSION, STRENGTH and POWER,” which also appears in the title of the exhibition?

It is a quote from the Sith Code, the doctrine of the Sith, and is derived from the dark side. Star Wars is set in a space opera, so this exhibition is an attempt to interpret that worldview in a more multidimensional way through art.

What, if anything, did you consciously work on for the exhibition?

As the final piece of this exhibition, I was particular about the design of the space itself. We left the planning to “YAR” led by YOSHIROTTEN, who is also participating in this exhibition. Although the individual works are very diverse, they understood the context of the exhibition we were aiming for, so they designed a plan with that in mind. When I saw the exhibition space with its dark room and mysterious red light, I was very happy to see a world beyond my imagination.

How did you select each artist?

First, I asked each artist if they liked Star Wars. This question is always the first thing I do when curating an exhibition like this, and not only for this exhibition. For example, Hiroki Tsukuda, who was in charge of the key visuals for this exhibition, is a big Star Wars fan and knows more about it than anyone else. That’s why he was the first person I approached when I was planning this project.

Thank you very much. Finally, do you have a message for the readers of Hypebeast?

I just want them to come to the venue and experience this space by seeing the works with their own eyes. Think of it as an interactive attraction, and come visit the “STAR WARS EXHIBITION — PASSION, STRENGTH and POWER!”

PARCO Collaborative Exhibition Expresses The World of “Star Wars” Featuring Various Artist's Works

STAR WARS EXHIBITION “PASSION, STRENGTH and POWER”
Tokyo, Japan
Dates: Friday, April 26 – Monday, May 13, 2024
Venue: PARCO MUSEUM TOKYO (Shibuya PARCO 4F)
Address: 15-1 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Hours: 11:00-21:00
Public Art Exhibition Location (1): “Darth Vader” and “Stormtrooper” at Shibuya PARCO 1F Spanish Slope Plaza
Public Art Exhibition Location (2): Shibuya PARCO 1F Storefront (Koen-dori side) “Millennium Falcon”

Osaka
Dates: May 17 (Friday) – June 3 (Monday), 2024
Venue: PARCO GALLERY (Shinsaibashi PARCO 14F)
Address: 1-8-3 Shinsaibashi-suji, Chuo-ku, Osaka City, Osaka
Hours: 10:00-20:00

*Admission to both venues until 30 minutes before closing (closing at 18:00 on the last day)
Admission: ¥1,000 (tax included) for adults, free for elementary school students and younger
Organizer: PARCO
Curated by: NANZUKA
Cooperation: Walt Disney Japan
Design: YAR
Exhibition Official Website
Star Wars official website

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