For the potatoes  -The great fire of Sawatari  

ジャガイモのために -沢渡大火

Nakanojo Biennale 2013  Sawatari hot spring district    中之条ビエンナーレ2103 沢渡温泉地区

Sep.13-Oct.14  2013

 Old warehhouse, Wood, Stones, painted paper, potapo farm  

This is an old Japanese warehouse.  A burn mark  in upper right on the wall is a mark that made by "the great fire of Sawatari" in April 16th, 1945.  The great fire burned whole Sawatari hot spring district. The fire was not caused  by an air raid, it coused by accident. In April 1945, the last stages of the war, about 200 children  from Tokyo stayed in Sawatari. They stayed at some large hot spring hotels. Since population of Sawatari was 150 and children are 200, they were hungry by shortage of food.

A manager of a hotel that the children stayed tried to make farm to grow potatoes and feed them to children. So he put the fire on his mountain for making the farm. But unfortunately, the fire spread until whole Sawatari area had been burned. Five people passed away. 

I expressed potatoes that the children could not eat by stones. I arranged stones which are similar to potatoes around the warehouse. And I put a bud on each potato. However the potatoes actually did not bud. These buds express the task that could not be  accomplished.  

The oblique lattice structure around warehouse express a feeling of oppression of the war,evacuation and shortage of food. 

I cultivated real potatoes in front of the warehouse. these were real buds of potatoes and real potatoes was growing underground. those buds were symbols of revival of Sawatari. 


 会場は群馬県の小さな温泉街「沢渡温泉」にある昭和初期に立てられた古い蔵。 壁の右上に見える黒こげたような跡は、昭和20年4月16日にこの地に発生した「沢渡大火」の跡である。この大火は沢渡温泉街の全てを焼きつくしてしまった。




  蔵の手前に本物のジャガイモを植えた。これは本当のジャガイモの芽であり、地中では本物のジャガイモが育っている。 沢渡温泉街の復興は長くかかった。昭和30年代に入って温泉に客が戻ってきて温泉病院も出来、かつての賑わいが戻ってきた。その後の沢渡の復興の芽である。