New art horizons seen from Kansai

Jan 22, 2010

New art horizons seen from Kansai

While the progression of Japanese art within the last decade is being celebrated at the “Garden of Painting” exhibition at The National Museum of Art in Osaka, other galleries in the area, such as the Tomio Koyama Gallery, Kyoto, and the YOD Gallery, Osaka, ...

Habsburg treasures celebrate art history

Jan 15, 2010

Habsburg treasures celebrate art history

It seems anachronistic and a little too culturally remote to call Rudolf II (1552-1612) a culture otaku, but that’s how the catalog for the “Treasures of the Habsburg Monarchy,” now in its second staging at Kyoto National Museum until March 14, describes him. The ...

What's real in a world of copies and clones?

Jan 8, 2010

What's real in a world of copies and clones?

I n contrast to the type of mass- produced art best characterized in Japan by Takashi Murakami and the hordes of assistants who complete paintings and sculptures to the specifications of their employer, is a small coterie of sculptors/painters who work at individually crafting ...

What lies behind the eccentric?

Nov 20, 2009

What lies behind the eccentric?

The German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel wrote that what is “familiarly known” is not “properly known,” just for the reason that it is familiar. The familiar historical image of the Edo Period Eccentric painters, one of whom was Ito Jakuchu (1716-1800), is no ...

The northern lights from Italy

Nov 13, 2009

The northern lights from Italy

In 1966, after graduating from Tokyo’s Tama Art University with a degree in interior design and doing a few odd jobs, Hidetoshi Nagasawa got on a bike and cycled out of Japan. He boarded a ship to Thailand and on arrival, resumed his bike ...

Adding and subtracting dimensions to further appreciate art

Oct 23, 2009

Adding and subtracting dimensions to further appreciate art

The camera obscura is an optical device that was occasionally used by Dutch painters of the 17th century to help them achieve a superlative level of technical proficiency. Literally meaning “darkened chamber” in Latin, it is a room with a small hole in one ...

Sep 25, 2009

Observing the pieces of a fragmented self

From an overwhelming slew of art, literature, music, cinema and theater references, there seems to emerge a provisional feel for order in William Kentridge’s filmic worlds: worlds created between the artist and spectators’ activity in constructing narratives from discrete fragments. How this materializes is ...

'Modern Living: Hiroe Komai'

| Sep 18, 2009

"Modern Living: Hiroe Komai"

Shin-bi Gallery, Kyoto Closes Nov. 8 London-based Hiroe Komai’s first solo exhibition, “Modern Living,” shows a series of sculptural low-relief wall collages and colored drawings. The drawings take up themes of Cubist and Modernist apartment blocks, cellular geometric lattices, or the interior of a ...

Breaking fairy-tale conventions of beauty

Sep 11, 2009

Breaking fairy-tale conventions of beauty

Against the tradition of bijinga (beautiful women pictures) that runs through Japanese art, there is an antithetical stream that draws attention to a grotesque and timeworn femininity. In noh plays, the celebrated early 9th-century beauty of the Heian Era, Ono no Komachi, is sometimes ...

Modern Kyoto

Jul 10, 2009

Modern Kyoto

In 1895, Kyoto was badly in need of public relations. Kyoto’s population was in decline, and traditional industries such as ceramics and textile manufacturing were in disarray. Since 794, the city had been the Imperial capital, until Edo was renamed Tokyo in 1868 and ...