Trapped by human society

Dec 4, 2013

Trapped by human society

Osaka-born Tetsumi Kudo’s oeuvre has been the subject of a number of major international retrospectives since his death in 1990, and these indicate the artist’s increasing postwar historical significance. The current National Museum of Art, Osaka retrospective is magisterial. With more than 600 pages, ...

The Imperial Household of tradition

Nov 27, 2013

The Imperial Household of tradition

The catalog for The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto’s exhibition, “Treasures of the Imperial Collection: The Quintessence of Modern Japanese Art,” tells us that this “sublime collection of resplendent masterpieces shines brilliantly in the history of modern Japanese art.” The collection, represented here ...

The politics behind Japan's modern era of proletarian art

Nov 13, 2013

The politics behind Japan's modern era of proletarian art

“Art and Literature in Japan 1926-1936″ follows the close of the Taisho Era (1912-1926), which was characterized by democracy, artistic experimentation and widespread social self-absorptions by the citizenry in new fashions such as the “beach pajama” outfits of “modern” girls. The successive Showa Era ...

For Japanese women painters, elegance came at expense of individuality

Oct 23, 2013

For Japanese women painters, elegance came at expense of individuality

“Painted by Women: Elegance of Showa Period” announces a thematic concern of the time, 1926-89, on which the art world was rigidified. Japan had embarked upon a 15-year period of war (1931-1945) and the individual expressive liberties that had informed the Taisho Era (1912-26), ...

Explore the many ways to read cinema

Oct 9, 2013

Explore the many ways to read cinema

Marcel Broodthaers’ films mostly deal with relations between images and words, which is unsurprising given that he was a poet first who turned to film because he came to understand the medium as an extension of language. In their combination, he sought harmony between ...

Kansetsu Hashimoto's Chinese rebellion

Sep 25, 2013

Kansetsu Hashimoto's Chinese rebellion

From the end of the Edo Period (1603-1867), Japanese art began to shift its fundamental cultural orientation from China to Europe. Kansetsu Hashimoto, however, (1883-1945) initially abjured, and this had much to do with his upbringing Born in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture, his father was ...

Aichi Triennale's best works deal with disaster

Aug 22, 2013

Aichi Triennale's best works deal with disaster

Since the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011, a lot of art here has dealt with disaster. Not all the pieces in the second installment of the Aichi Triennale are on this theme — but the best ones are. The event launched ...

The nature of Japanese lacquer art

Aug 14, 2013

The nature of Japanese lacquer art

Katsuyuki Shirako (b. 1984) is a lacquer artist, though not one who accords specific primacy to that medium. His fourth show at Kyoto’s eN arts in Kyoto, is predominantly photographs. Drawn from the artist’s “Connect” series, these images show a combination of his carefully ...

Get intimate with Ryota Aoki's work and discover its secrets

Jun 6, 2013

Get intimate with Ryota Aoki's work and discover its secrets

Known mostly for producing exquisite white ceramic ware, Ryota Aoki has about-turned for his current exhibition at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Kyoto. The overwhelming shift is to black wares: think practical, utilitarian tableware such as plates, cups, pitchers and vases. Inundated with orders, particularly from ...

Seeking impressions in the two-dimensional

May 30, 2013

Seeking impressions in the two-dimensional

The title of Yu Kiwanami’s “Confirmation of Happiness” (2013) is, in a sense, a kind of betrayal; for happiness cannot, in fact, be confirmed. A woman stands before a landscape, her head cropped off by the top edge of the picture in an artistic ...