Matthew Larking

For Matthew Larking's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Balthus' renaissance of Realism

Jul 24, 2014

Balthus' renaissance of Realism

Paris-born Balthus Klossowski de Rola (1908-2001) is considered by some to be comparable to Picasso, though it was Picasso who said that Balthus was the "last great painter of the 20th century." From Picasso's Cubism onward, painting no longer needed to mirror the world ...

World-weary and resigned, yet the samurai spirit soldiers on

Jul 3, 2014

World-weary and resigned, yet the samurai spirit soldiers on

Since the emergence of conceptual art in the 1960s, artistic skill and superlative craftsmanship came to be derided as almost artistic embarrassment, a suspect accusation leveled at the supposed old guard who took pride in their technical proficiency. Think of Joseph Beuys and Andy ...

The evolution of Seiki Kuroda

Jun 25, 2014

The evolution of Seiki Kuroda

In all too-common sophomoric slight to artists is: "A child could have done that." Seiki Kuroda (1866-1924), the most significant Western-style painter in Japan's early modern history, however, shows that even some young adults can not accomplish what takes years to hone.

The Uemuras were not quite like mother, like son

Jun 18, 2014

The Uemuras were not quite like mother, like son

Shoko Uemura (1902-2001) was born to Shoen Uemura, the most revered and financially successful female painter of the early modern period, who arguably did more to popularize the bijinga genre (pictures of beautiful women) than any other. Artistically, however, his mother is said to ...

Imagination runs wild in Japanese contemporary art

Jun 11, 2014

Imagination runs wild in Japanese contemporary art

“Nostalgia and Fantasy: Imagination and its Origins in Contemporary Art” is a ragtag grouping of nine individual artists and one unit, each of whom focus on extremely different things. It is difficult to say, in fact, where “nostalgia” and “fantasy” come into play in ...

The 'Great Wave' that reached the West

May 28, 2014

The 'Great Wave' that reached the West

Ukiyo-e prints could be found in Europe from at least 1795 at the Cabinet des Estampes at the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. It was not until the 1850s, however, when trade between Japan and Europe began to flourish, that the craze for things ...

Apr 23, 2014

Best to approach Gursky's photos with a painterly eye

The invention of photography was supposed to bring about the death of painting. What actually happened, however, was that photography became a parasite, feeding off painting. It is enriched by it, bolstered and buoyed by its conventions — such as the use of landscape ...