Matthew Larking

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

Ryan Gander looks back with humor

Jun 13, 2017

Ryan Gander looks back with humor

British artist Ryan Gander does the spread of contemporary art polysemy through objects, installations, paintings, photography and video. All is brought under the rubric of “conceptual” art, for which the catalog of “These wings aren’t for flying” at The National Museum of Art, Osaka, ...

Alternative realities of realism

Jun 6, 2017

Alternative realities of realism

“Realism” can be a frustratingly indeterminate term. It can be used to refer to individual paintings, and it can be a conceptual placeholder that seemingly encapsulates the entire history of the Western Renaissance, and other, fine arts through to modernism. The critical afterlives of ...

Kaikei: the name behind the gods

May 23, 2017

Kaikei: the name behind the gods

Kamakura Period (1185-1333) Buddhist sculptures often come down to us under the individual names of makers (when known) though they were often fashioned in workshops by multiple hands. A significant 13th-century work would employ a dozen or so team members and assistants and draw ...

Kaiho Yusho: painting privilege

Apr 25, 2017

Kaiho Yusho: painting privilege

The Momoyama Period (1573-1615) artist Kaiho Yusho (1533-1615) was renowned among the elite painters of his time, and still is. More remarkable, however, is that fame came when he was in his 60s during what is called his “early” period. Over the following two ...

Kyotographie: from Kyoto, with love

Apr 18, 2017

Kyotographie: from Kyoto, with love

Kyotographie — the brainchild of photographer Lucille Reyboz and lighting artist Yusuke Nakanishi — is 5 this year. Conceived and nurtured in Kyoto, it is now one of few substantial photography festivals in Japan, inarguably rivaling, even surpassing, many of the country’s other calendar ...

The tortured artist is not just a cliche

Mar 28, 2017

The tortured artist is not just a cliche

Sai Hashizume’s latest exhibition of precision realist painting, “This Isn’t Happiness,” is about updating some of the masters of Western art history. In her five new works, she deals prominently with the surrealist Rene Magritte and Vincent Van Gogh. She also adopts the ominous ...

Masaaki Yamada: A painter of all stripes and colors

Mar 14, 2017

Masaaki Yamada: A painter of all stripes and colors

Masaaki Yamada (1929-2010) is like a mystery man of modernism. He apparently had no specialist art training of note and is known only by a skeleton biography that is mostly blank before 1943, and patchy thereafter. Said to have begun painting from the so-called ...

Coutelas: Outside the outsiders

Feb 28, 2017

Coutelas: Outside the outsiders

Robert Coutelas (1930-85) was born into a poor French family who lived in a single room, and he died in a similar, pathetically impoverished, way. Nearly every opportunity life afforded he either abandoned or would broker no compromise for the sake of art. Now, ...

Between realism and abstraction

Feb 14, 2017

Between realism and abstraction

Since impressionism had, at its extremities, given rise to the expressionists Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin, the postwar painter Jean-Michel Atlan said great art could only be made in the margins. In early postwar Europe, abstraction and figuration were the embattled avant-gardes. Working ...

The future looks bright for artists in the ancient capital

Jan 31, 2017

The future looks bright for artists in the ancient capital

“Kyoto Art For Tomorrow” at The Museum of Kyoto draws together single pieces by 43 up-and-coming artists under the age of 40. Focusing on a new generation, the exhibition looks forward to the international attention Japan will receive for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Indeed, ...