ONCE UPON NOW 1873-2023
The Vienna World’s Fair of 1873 represented a significant milestone in the history of Japan: After several centuries of isolation, the Empire had the opportunity to present itself to the world for the very first time.
In an acclaimed pavilion built by Japanese architects, carpenters, and garden designers, Japan displayed several thousand high-quality art and craft objects collected all over Japan over a period of two years prior to the Vienna World’s Fair.
To celebrate the 150th anniversary, the Austrian Cultural Forum Tokyo commissioned the Austrian artist Johanna Riedl to develop a contemporary take on Japan’s participation and the Japanese pavilion.
Johanna Riedl created "Once Upon Now 1873-2023" (OUN) as a performative video and sound installation which was displayed at the Chinretsukan Gallery of the Tokyo University of the Arts in Ueno, Tokyo.
"OUN" functioned as a platform for intercultural exchange in the form of a contemporary position. As a pavilion of togetherness placed in Tokyo, the installation plays with the different spaces that exist between cultures while operating on the "what ifs" to blur the dualism between the West and East in a globalized age.