Matthew Larking

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

Salvador Dali: a life less ordinary

Aug 16, 2016

Salvador Dali: a life less ordinary

The early literary surrealists of the mid-1920s were skeptical of any visual possibility. Their aim — to fuse art with life, reality and dreams — was to be realized through the immediacy of writing. Painting, by contrast, was a laborious, indirect expression mediated by ...

Aug 9, 2016

Foujita's struggle between Paris and Tokyo

Few Japanese artists have received the extremes of acclaim and censure that Leonard Foujita (Tsuguharu Fujita, 1886-1968) has. Based in Paris from 1913 he became Japan’s only painter of international significance at that time, and by the 1920s, he commanded prices comparable to Picasso. ...

The embellished world of Kozan Miyagawa's ceramics

Jul 5, 2016

The embellished world of Kozan Miyagawa's ceramics

In 1954-55, three Kyoto ceramists of the Sodeisha group of artists began a revolution by creating objects that fulfilled no practical role. Kazuo Yagi, Osamu Suzuki and Hikaru Yamada took away the mouths of vases or added several more to them, played with vessels’ ...

Japan's conflicted art of World War II

Jun 7, 2016

Japan's conflicted art of World War II

The Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art’s current exhibition, “1945±5: The Works that Survived through the Turbulent and Reconstruction Era,” showcases modern Japanese art five years either side of the pivotal end of World War II. It addresses oil painting and mostly follows a conventional ...

The many portraits of an artist as a young, and older, man

May 17, 2016

The many portraits of an artist as a young, and older, man

As photographer Yasumasa Morimura has predominantly made his name since 1985 in eccentric self-portraiture involving impersonations of famous people, his current exhibition is conceptually and structurally all autobiography. It is a tale serially told through chapters with a beginning, middle-stage developments and a seemingly ...

Hakuin's picture of Zen Buddhism

May 3, 2016

Hakuin's picture of Zen Buddhism

Zen, traced to the ancient teachings of the Buddha Shakyamuni, took root in China via India around 1,500 years ago through the first Zen patriarch, Bodhidharma. Spread there by the priest Linji Yixuan (Rinzai Gigen, died 867), it was transmitted to Japan in the ...

Putting some faith into the art of decoration

Apr 12, 2016

Putting some faith into the art of decoration

The titular kazari (decoration or ornament) as the focus of “Kazari: Decoration in Faith and Festival,” the Miho Museum’s spring exhibition, is intended to restore something of the centrality of its concept of decorative embellishment to Japanese art. While the exhibits are consummate, however, ...

The dyeing art of Japan's traditional everyday kimono

Mar 1, 2016

The dyeing art of Japan's traditional everyday kimono

Weaver and dyer Fukumi Shimura’s (b.1924) inherited an interest in craft from her mother, Toyo Ono, who made inroads through the early 20th-century mingei (folk crafts) movement led by philosopher Muneyoshi Yanagi. Introduced to the lacquer artistan Tatsuaki Kuroda in 1956, Shimura began to ...

The ornate history of embroidery

Jun 9, 2015

The ornate history of embroidery

“Transcendent Artful Embroidery II” at the Kobe Fashion Museum is a cross-cultural look at the perfections of needle craft across several centuries. It gets underway with a section on garments of Indian nobles and Chinese court dresses of the 19-20th centuries and then segues ...