Three artists wondering in the darkness

Jun 14, 2016

Three artists wondering in the darkness

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Hajime Sawatari is 76 and alone. He’s technically still married, but found that photography and chasing skirt didn’t sit well with being in a monogamous relationship. “I want to be free to photograph what I want. I’m very self-centered,” he tells me, disarmingly. In ...

Japan's conflicted art of World War II

Jun 7, 2016

Japan's conflicted art of World War II

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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 ...

'Chihiro's Sketch Journey'

May 17, 2016

'Chihiro's Sketch Journey'

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Until July 11 Renowned for her charming paintings and picture-book illustrations of flowers and children, Chihiro Iwasaki found particular pleasure in creating artworks while traveling. Always working to the theme of “peace and happiness for children,” she found inspiration through her explorations in Japan, ...

Ito Jakuchu: Quite the rare bird

May 10, 2016

Ito Jakuchu: Quite the rare bird

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The best time to see Ito Jakuchu’s work was back in 2000 or 2006, when there were two major exhibitions that aimed to re-evaluate the underappreciated 18th-century Kyoto painter. Now that re-evaluation has picked up plenty of steam we are currently experiencing a powerful ...

Akiyama remodels the canon of clay

Apr 19, 2016

Akiyama remodels the canon of clay

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Artist Yo Akiyama has never been one to play by the rules. As a young student in the ceramics program at Kyoto City University of the Arts (Kyoto Geidai) in the mid-1970s, he quickly earned a reputation as a troublemaker, never content to accept ...

Kyoto's photographic slice of life

Apr 19, 2016

Kyoto's photographic slice of life

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Kyotographie is growing up. The international photography festival, which runs for a month at various stunning venues throughout Kyoto, is in its fourth year. So far there have been no signs of growing pains, even if the Kyotographie team members appear a little exhausted ...

An exhibition of things that make you go 'hmm'

Apr 12, 2016

An exhibition of things that make you go 'hmm'

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The subtitle of the Mori Art Museum’s triennial “Roppongi Crossing” exhibition three years ago was “Out of Doubt.” This year it’s “My Body, Your Voice.” In 2013, the group show was inflected by the destruction caused by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and ...

Putting some faith into the art of decoration

Apr 12, 2016

Putting some faith into the art of decoration

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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, ...

'Sion Sono: The Whispering Star'

Apr 12, 2016

'Sion Sono: The Whispering Star'

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April 3-July 10 As a multi-talented director, Japanese filmmaker and poet Sion Sono has been a regular participant of international film festivals, garnering critical acclaim for his dark and expressive films such as “Noriko’s Dinner Table” (2006), “Cold Fish” (2011) and “Why Don’t You ...