The Play – Big Book

Artist project

Élodie Royer & Yoann Gourmel

Publication combining in one volume the reprint of two out-of-print books entitled PLAY, self-published in 1981 and 1991, with an addition of previously unreleased documentation of actions made by the group from 1991 to 2014


Staging most of their actions, “without particular reason,” in “natural outdoor spaces,” and admitting they “only like[d] the infinite time and space of open air,” The Play is a fluctuating art collective gathering individuals with various personalities and skills, formed in 1967 in the Japanese Kansai region. Still active today the group has constantly devised its own methods for collective actions and the ways for transmitting them, its members coming together to create the possibility of an event without any concern for its result. Its persistence and longevity have set The Play apart from other groups in Japanese art history, never completely integrated, yet never completely at the margins. Refusing to distinguish art from life, The Play underlines an attitude and an outlook focused on playing, sincerity and humor, notions that remain crucial today.

Elaborated with the members of The Play, this complete survey of their activities is edited using the same format, lay-out and design features as the previous black and blue cover books made with a Xerox machine during The Play members’ holidays. This new play or holiday book gathers photographs, documents (maps, drawings, charts, posters, press clippings, etc.) and short statements on each action made by the group from 1967 to 2014.

Edited by <o>future<o>, Paris, 2014
Texts by The Play  and Élodie Royer & Yoann Gourmel
Trilingual  edition (french / english / japanese)
Book – 796p., (color and b&w), 25,6 x 36,3 cm
ISBN : 978-2-9540465-4-9
Published by Bat with the support of CNAP Centre national des arts plastiques (aide à l’édition) and the frac île-de-france