The embodiment of Buddha Shakyamuni through art

Nov 17, 2011

The embodiment of Buddha Shakyamuni through art

“What is national treasure?” wrote Saicho (767-822), the founding monk of Tendai Buddhism, in his 818 “The Essential Teachings for Tendai Lotus Sect Priests,” which he presented to Emperor Saga to bolster the standing of his esoteric order. His answer was pursuing the Buddhist ...

Wonderlands of the artists' making

Oct 13, 2011

Wonderlands of the artists' making

With a show titled “Ways of Worldmaking,” you expect something big and with plenty of diversity — and The National Museum of Art, Osaka, mostly achieves this. Six individuals and three artist groups — all young and up-and-coming — have been brought together and ...

Bringing Western-style painting back to the East

Oct 6, 2011

Bringing Western-style painting back to the East

Ryusei Kishida (1891-1929) remains a giant of modern yōga (Western-style Japanese painting), though his idea of “modernism” would mostly have been unrecognizable to his Western counterparts. While his early painting dealt with Western precedents of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism from the late 19th century, he ...

Tradition that hides in abstraction

Sep 22, 2011

Tradition that hides in abstraction

Abstraction came into vogue during a reinvigorated period of the 1950s and ’60s, following on from its introduction by experimental Japanese artists of the 1910s, who were influenced by European importations of Expressionism, Cubism and Futurism. As a painterly idiom, abstraction could claim for ...

The enduring reputation of Shigeru Aoki's brief career

Jun 30, 2011

The enduring reputation of Shigeru Aoki's brief career

Shigeru Aoki’s short life was “beset by all manner of bad luck, and he passed through it like a shooting star” wrote Hanijiro Sakamoto (1882-1969), one of the giants of post-WWII Western-style painting. Shigeru (1882-1911) was only 28 when he passed away, and his ...

Jun 16, 2011

'Takashi Hinoda — Alternative Muscles'

imura art gallery, kyoto Closes July 23 Ceramics artist Takashi Hinoda (b. 1968) creates freakish figures whose limbs are stretched and mashed, and re-coagulated in weird and fantastical ways. The legs of Hinoda’s “To Consume the World” (2011), for example, support not a torso ...

Fired-up tales of ceramics in wonderland

Jun 2, 2011

Fired-up tales of ceramics in wonderland

Craft was maligned in Japan’s Meiji Era (1868-1912) as the transposition of Western aesthetic theory denigrated it in relation to grand ideas of “fine art.” All the while, though, it was an important export industry and a core component of Japan’s contributions to various ...

'Yu Kiwanami Solo Exhibition'

May 12, 2011

'Yu Kiwanami Solo Exhibition'

imura art gallery, kyotoCloses May 28 Yu Kiwanami’s paintings from 2006-09 have been compared somewhat wrongheadedly to English painter Julian Opie’s because of their shared concern for the graphic quality of thick black contours and simplified forms and colors. While Opie retained distinctive individual ...

Divides in the Pure Land

Apr 29, 2011

Divides in the Pure Land

The portrait of Honen Shoin (13th century) is known in Japanese as “Kagami no Miei” (mirror portrait) and shows the famous Buddhist priest seated on a mat, slightly slumped and holding his nenju (rosary). For the title of another famous 13th-century depiction of a ...