The 4th Tokyo International Mini-Print Triennial 2005, a project to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Tama Art University, was an invitational competition for selected and awarded artists from the past three triennials and other artists recommended by the jury.
We set the limit as 20cm × 25cm for the size of a mini-print, because we were sure that the specified size would be the most rational. It was our wish that applicants should be able to safely submit their prints by ordinary mail from almost every place in the world without damaging their quality. Behind these considerations were not just economic considerations but rather an aggressive idea about the way our cultural intercourse should be carried on.
For the 1st triennial, held in 1995, we received a total of about 3,500 entries from about 1,800 entrants, a figure far higher than anticipated.
We were delighted that the 2nd triennial, held in 1998, attracted such great interest as to receive more than 4,300 entries from about 2,300 entrants from 86 countries and regions. A large part of the entries were copper prints, but woodblocks and lithographs were included too, together with prints using various new expressions such as monotype and digital prints. Also, among the entries were prints incorporating collage technique.
From the 3rd triennial, held in 2002, we started the wider use of the Internet for this open competition to promote more participation by artists of various expressive media for a chance and place to introduce the world's prints beyond nations and artistic fields. For the 3rd triennial, we received more than 3,600 entries from about 2,000 entrants from 81 countries and regions. By digitalizing the works and information in cooperation with the Media Center, newly established in Tama Art University, we prepared a CD-ROM catalog of this exhibition and presented a chance to see the entry pieces on our website.
New awards were established for the Tokyo International Mini-Print Triennial: the Masuo Ikeda Award of 1998 and 2002 to commemorate the print artist, who was a juror of the 1st triennial exhibition, but died suddenly in 1997, and the Tetsuro Komai Award of 2002 to celebrate his great contribution to the education of print art at Tama Art University.
We sold prints presented by the entrants of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd triennials at charity events. The profits were used to nurture foreign and domestic culture: restoration and preservation of cultural properties damaged by the Great Hanshin and Awaji Earthquake, economic support of foreign students studying here at their own expense, and the like.
The 4th Tokyo International Mini-Print Triennial 2005 was an invitational competition for selected and awarded artists from the past 3 triennials; therefore, the quality of the entries was quite high. Many of the artists incorporated an enriched idea into a small space of the sheet as if they worked on a canvas or a mural, which very much impressed the jury members. Since the jurors were divided, with different views in selecting the award pieces, they had to repeat the voting again and again. But, the jurying seemed that much more worth doing for the jurors.
The grand-prix piece by Katarina Vabrova (Slovakia), motivated by the bicentennial anniversary of the birth of Andersen, depicts a minute image of dense fantasy. Or, the image may be a scene of a specific story, but it was fascinating and mysterious enough to invite viewers to an older time or an exotic land. This piece, though small, let us feel a rich spatiality.
We take a frank delight in that the Tokyo International Mini-Print
Triennials could maintain a pure attitude that puts an artwork, an artist,
or an individual first, while using the merits as a project organized
by a university. Through the triennial exhibitions, the print collection
of Tama Art University currently amounts to approximately 7,000 pieces,
which represents an overall view of the world's print expressions from
the 20th century to the 21st century.
Approximately 3,700 of these prints are made available for public appreciation. Re-editing all the entries selected for the 4 triennial exhibitions, we have finished making a complete catalog of the Tokyo International Mini-Print Triennial, and newly established a database of the artists on the website. This means a great step from an exhibition to which “anyone can apply by submitting their prints by ordinary mail from almost every place in the world" into an exhibition which “anyone can appreciate from any place in the world via the Internet."