"Magnetic Generation" is Kijuro Yahagi's global avant-garde attempt to commit to the art scene by jumping out of graphic design!

Why I conceived the establishment of a private online art museum.

I am grateful that an art museum or gallery chooses to add my work to its permanent collection as it means the work will be preserved. However, if the major objective of a permanent collection is to preserve that collection for a distant, indefinite future, it is sad from the perspective of a creator because the work remains in storage without seeing the light of day. If, on the other hand, it is taken up in the near future, a creator is left to wonder what sort of concept would cause a curator to consider the work an option for inclusion in an exhibition. Gripped by uncertainties of that sort, I conceived the idea of establishing an on-line art museum that would effectively reveal my body of work. I thought that if I did that, people throughout the world would be able to look at any time, and the entirety of my work would be understood without any misconception.

Building a system that enables anyone to purchase a work.

Next, my idea is antithetical to convention; that is, art museums and galleries regard applied posters as works of applied art, and expect such posters to be provided for their permanent collections free of charge. In other words, artists are paid a proper value for the art they produce, but graphic designers are not paid for the applied art they produce, so museums and galleries ordinarily consider they can collect applied art without financial pain.
However, what I create is works of conceptual art.  Conceptual posters may include print, but conceptual art have none at all. They are clearly attempts to create works of art that are out of the ordinary. Whatever size a work may take is only provisional; I assume that size can change freely. It is precisely because I think in this way that I believe their valuation needs to be changed. 
According to one argument, the genre Russian Avant-Garde came to be recognized after 50 years, and applied posters created in that period became valuable. I know that astounding prices came to be attached to them by the art market. A similar thing happened in the world of ukiyoe. At one time, no one paid them the slightest attention in Japan because wood-block prints were initially sold cheaply. However, Tadamasa Hayashi went to France in 1878 and actively sold prints at high prices; that was one of the factors in today’s valuation of ukiyoe. Nevertheless, though they came to be regarded as works of historical and aesthetic value, only art dealers were rewarded monetarily by this development. The creators of ukiyoe of the time unfortunately did not benefit from the increased valuation of their works. I think this issue needs to be addressed. Such conditions provided me with important hints and led me to conceive a system that would not be tied down by art museums and galleries and allow anyone to purchase my conceptual posters and conceptual art.

Kijuro Yahagi

Born in Japan in 1952, Kijuro Yahagi is active in a wide range of fields: graphic design, conceptual art, photography, architecture, and sculpture. In the conceptual posters created in 1980-84, he undertook experiments in printing images born of words on silk screens, exploring the meaning of words and converting concepts. Conceptual art was an attempt through offset printing to convert concepts without even the use of  words.
Major events leading to further explorations of graphic design were his winning an award in the “Bertolt Brecht for His 80th Birthday: International Poster Competition” in the GDR in 1978; a special prize for the “Warsaw International Poster Biennale” in 1980; and a gold prize in the “Warsaw International Poster Biennale” in 1990. He threw himself into the world of not just graphic design but conceptual art. He remains active and has since expanded his work into diverse fields including photography, architecture, and sculpture.
Kijuro Yahagi has been invited to, and participated in, not only events in Japan but “The 6th Asian Art Biennale Bangladesh” in 1993, the “One Aspect of Contemporary Design” at the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea, in 1994; the “Second Mediations Biennale” at the ZAMEK Culture Centre. In 2021-2022, a major exhibition entitled “Kijuro Yahagi New Ways of Meeting the World” was held at The Museum of Modern Art, Hayama, Japan. Many art museums throughout the world have included Yahagi’s works in their collections, beginning with Die Neue Sammlung in Munich. 

Conceptual Poster

Conceptual Art

From conceptual posters, I entered the domain of art, that is, conceptual art, by not including any words in pictures. I was amazed that “Shot by a Sight,” a work of conceptual art, received the gold prize at the 1990 “Warsaw International Poster Biennale.” The creation of this series of works and my winning the prize undoubtedly was a turning point that led me on the path to conceptual art. The year 1990 was a year before the Berlin Wall came down in 1989. The wave that swept Poland as well  produced hyper-inflation; 10,000 Japanese Yen became the equivalent of a million Zloty. The award ceremony that was to have taken place two years later was cancelled. Four years later, in 1994, a magnificent ceremony took place with the evening event before the main ceremony, the exhibition, and the award ceremony accommodated in three separate palaces. I have heard that this was done for propaganda purposes in Eastern Europe and that the event was cancelled permanently after we were honored.