6th [2018] - Overview

An article to Tokyo International Mini-Print Triennial 2018 

The Tokyo International Mini-Print Triennial was launched in 1995 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Tama Art University’s foundation, and has now reached its sixth edition. Starting with the fifth Triennial, which coincided with the university’s 80th anniversary, we accept submissions through a worldwide, online open call, and have also begun accepting works in digital print form. We received nearly 2,000 print works from 81 countries and regions. At the Triennial, we will exhibit 324 of these works, which have passed a first review based on a photograph of the work and the second review of the original work.

Over the 23 years since the first Triennial in 1995, the intense social changes and shifts in the global power structure at the close of the 20th century have continued into the 21st, and there are calls for various changes and developments in the role and potential of art as well. These changes can be seen in the Triennial, as new generations of participants submit different kinds of works, and in addition to the distinctive characteristics of art from various countries and regions, there is a strong sense of possibilities for fusion and generation of a new, international sensibility for a new era.

We hope to encourage the creation and expansion of new artistic expression, and to be a driving force in changing perspectives on art and the world, through the incorporation of various new approaches and devices that make use of new and old technologies and social systems, including submission, collection and distribution of works via the Internet and by traditional post, so as to bring the magic of printmaking to a wider audience.

Above all, we will be delighted if Triennial attendees can feel the effervescent artistic energy emanating from each work, full of creativity and sensitivity, like stars in the small universe of mini-prints.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to all the artists who submitted works and to all the groups, organizations and stakeholders that gave us crucial assistance in staging the Triennial with their cooperation, sponsorship, subsidization and support.

Fujitani Nobuto
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Tama Art University

Comment on the Exhibition 

This is the sixth edition of the Tokyo International Mini-Print Triennial. While many of the international printmaking competition/exhibitions held in various places in Japan at one time have been disappearing one after another, we are proud that this one, while mini-sized and organized by a single art university, has lasted through various trials. The constraint of small-sized pictures, in that everything in them is condensed, may actually bring out the unique charm of printmaking to maximum effect.

This time we received numerous submissions – 1,672 from abroad and 194 from Japan – a testament to the degree of ambition this Triennial arouses in printmakers. Their small-sized creations conveyed not only the diversity of artists’ personalities and techniques, but also the richness of each one’s cultural climate, rooted in different historical contexts, and were highly inspiring to the jury.

In the first screening, works by 324 artists (269 from overseas, 55 from Japan) from 80 countries were selected from among entries submitted in data form, and 19 prizewinners were selected in the second screening, in which their actual works were viewed.

In addition to the Grand-Prix and Semi Grand-Prix winners, at the exhibition venue we are sure to see an enormously fertile range of printmaking expression by artists who fully invested their talents in the mini-print format. At the risk of preaching to the choir, in closing let me share my views on printmaking. In printmaking, an artist produces a plate, but the plate is only part of a process, and not a work in and of itself. The artist’s vision is fulfilled through the process of transferring ink from the plate to the paper. That procedure, which is also physical and mysterious, creates a world unique to prints and unlike any other genre. It is the nature of printmaking for the material properties of paper and ink to take on an intimate character before our eyes, and if this is so, the format of the mini-print, which forces us to look even more closely at details, does not actually confine or constrain, but rather heightens the vividness of the mysterious communion of plate and paper. It is only natural that mini-prints are a primary area of endeavor for many printmakers. I hope that this competition and exhibition will be, in its modest way and through the postal service, a hub for international exchange, as well as an opportunity to savor the singular pleasures of the world of mini-prints.

Tatehata Akira
Tama Art University President
and art critic

Exhibition information 

Tokyo International Mini-Print Triennial 2018

Tama Art University Museum
1-33-1 Ochiai, Tama-city, Tokyo, Japan
(Sat.) Oct. 27, 2018 - (Sun.) Dec. 2, 2018
Open Hours
10:00 - 18:00 (last admission at 17:30)
7 minutes from Tama Center Station
(Keio Sagamihara Line, Odakyu Tama Line, Tama-monorail)
Organized by
Tama Art University
Under the auspices
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
Agency for Cultural Affairs
Japan Foundation
Sponsored by
Awagami Factory
The Alumni Association of Tama Art University

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