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Fumiko Goto, Associate Professor, Faculty of Letters, Major in Aesthetics and Science of Arts

Thinking together about the power of art

This seminar class on the history of modern art has just started its fourth year. 20 third-year students and 17 fourth-year students, all with a variety of interests, are enrolled. Here we think together about art and work on research.

Assoc. Prof. Fumiko Goto and students

To face art, to think deeply about it, and to try to accept it with one’s heart and soul are all actually inseparably linked with the fundamental act of living; it was in my twenties when I started to strongly feel this way. And this way of thinking still lies at the basis of my research today, almost as if it were a religious conviction.

In so much as works of art, the subjects of our research, are obviously “objects” which are unable speak for themselves, contending with them can undoubtedly be quite a lonely endeavor. However, art by its very nature is a shared thing and therefore does not restrict us to grapple with it alone. Instead, it invites us to a shared sensitive experience, where we appreciate works of art with other “people”, exchanging views about them in an open atmosphere for criticism. By sharing what our eyes view, what our heart feels, what our mind analyzes, and even what our body senses towards art with those who share the same place and time through works of art and the same art experience, we are able to realize the innate power within art which cannot be found in a solitary approach. In this sense, my seminar class is a place where we can widely share art.

My seminar class takes place in neither an art museum nor a gallery, but in a classroom, so it is obviously very difficult for members to share the same art experience. However, even without art in front of us, using our imagination, I continue to try to think with my students to realize together that, essentially, art is something we must fully attend to with both body and mind, and that it holds a special power that enables us to focus on our lives. Trial and error for this approach continues today.

Student's Voice
Satomi Nagayasu, Fourth-year Student,
Faculty of Letters, Major in Aesthetics and Science of Arts

Hello, Prof. Fumiko Goto’s seminar class speaking!

In addition to orthodox studies on the history of modern art, the members of our seminar class have diversified interests, from research on famous artists such as Monet, Manet, and Van Gogh, to areas such as photography, design and fashion, and each student spends a lot of time working on their own themes.
Every year during the first semester, third-year and fourth-year students work on a joint research project at the professor’s suggestion, and this year, we started our research from the standpoint that art is close to familiar senses that we experience in life. With Professor Goto’s gentle personality, the seminar class is a very comfortable place, and it provides the perfect environment for students to open-mindedly motivate and encourage each other.

*This article appeared in the 2012 summer edition (No.275) of “Juku.”
*Position titles, etc., are those at the time of publishing.