Past Exhibitions

HIBERNATION 1: Healing Spring A Film & Moving Image Festival The Latest in Independent Animation

Sat, Jan 25, 2020 - Sun, Apr 5


This group exhibition featured three animation artists-Hirano Ryo, nuQ, and Saigo no Shudan-active across multiple genres. The trio explored the so-called “power spots” of Lake Towada and the Oirase Gorge and, inspired by the spirituality of the area, transformed the exhibition space into a healing spring. Screenings of new animations were supplemented with installations composed of paintings, sculptures, and other objects. in a show that presented the unique worldview of these three artists.

Message from Guest Curator Nobuaki Doi

Healing Spring is the inaugural edition of HIBERNATION, a film and moving image festival that highlights the latest in independent animation. The festival will feature exhibitions and screenings by three artists who are all active across multiple genres, in particular the animation of Ryo Hirano, nuQ, and Saigo no Shudan.

These three artists are contemporaries of each other and all share a similar style. They use familiar motifs that are rooted in our everyday lives as well as various designs that give their work a retro and nostalgic feel. Their works are populated with something that transcends the scale of modern thought, and into these everyday perceptions are thrust the complications of space-time, such as the future and the supernatural (yokai and UFOs), the spiritual and the ancient. They allow us to experience, be overwhelmed by, and ultimately rejoice in their works.

This group exhibition, the first to feature these three artists since POWER SPOT, held in Shibuya in 2015, has been inspired by the spiritual aspects of the area discovered by the artists through research done in Towada, which has culminated in a collaborative transformation of the exhibition space. Because this is a group exhibition, it will be an opportunity for a new set of values to be created by combining the powers of each of these artists. And actually, the city of Towada itself was created through the merger of several municipalities (powers), just as Lake Towada and its surrounding nature was formed by the coming together of multiple natural phenomena (powers), including volcanic eruption. The museum, as a venue, is also a place that summons values and power that are separate from everyday life. To take in that power, people from around the world come to visit the museum, which in turn creates more power.

The positive effects and new values that can be realized through the combining of multiple powers must be achieved in this exhibition. To achieve this, we will go beyond animation and aim to create an enchanting space where guests will be able to receive various powers by supplementing screenings with paintings, sculptures, and other objects. The three artists are also working together to create a new “monument” for the exhibition. Overall, by creating a hot spring-like space that connects the indigenous, the universal, and the spiritual, we aim to harness the power of museum guests to transform it into a “healing spring”—and yes, the existence of Lake Towada was certainly a great inspiration.

During this period, when animals and plants sleep away the time until spring comes, this exhibition will use the combined power of these three artists to accumulate a store of power that will be able to create a new world here in Towada. We hope you will immerse yourself in this spring of healing as we move forward into a new season of renewal.

Top image designed by Saigo no Shudan, illustrations by Ryo Hirano, nuQ, and Saigo no Shudan




HIBERNATION 1: Healing Spring A Film & Moving Image Festival The Latest in Independent Animation


Sat, Jan 25, 2020 - Sun, Apr 5


Towada Art Center


9:00–17:00 (Last admission 30 minutes before closing)


except for National Holidays, in which case the museum is open on the holiday and closed the following Tuesday


Exhibition + Permanent Collection: 1,200 yen
Exhibition only: 800 yen
100 yen/ticket discount for groups of 20 or more
High school students and younger: Free

Endorsed by

The To-o Nippo Press, The Daily-Tohoku Shimbun Inc., Aomori Broadcasting Cooperation, Aomori Television Broadcasting Co., Ltd., Asahi Broadcasting Aomori Co., Ltd., & Towada City Board of Education

Guest Curator

Nobuaki Doi (CEO, New Deer, Inc. / Director, New Chitose International Animation Festival)


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Exhibition Overview and Highlights

Guest Curator