In 2014, Tokyo University of th Arts’ Graduate School of Fine Arts launched its Global Art Programme (GAP) with Complex Topography, a joint project undertaken by students from Tokyo and London, commencing the following year. Concerned with developing concepts of the social practice of art, students engaged with trans-institutional, transnational and transcultural dialogue and learning.

Its first iteration was centred on the Ritsurin Garden (designated as a special place of scenic beauty by the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs). The resulting exhibition of works in October 2015, provided a backdrop to the official launch of the GAP programme. Its second iteration the following year, Complex Topography: Movement and Change, returned to the Ritsurin Garden as part of the Autumn session of the Setouchi Triennale. For its third outing Complex Topography: The Pavilion, the project exhibited in the UK for the first time at the Folkestone Triennial.

As well as responding to the Triennial’s theme, the artists’ interventions engaged with the particularities of context and audience to create tangible sculptural works as well as ephemeral, contingent, transient and dispersed artworks representing three very different perspectives – from London, Tokyo and Folkestone’.

Professor Graham Ellard

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Complex Topography at the Folkestone Triennial