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Matthew Larking
For Matthew Larking's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Jun 18, 2020
Hiroshi Sugimoto: Spiritual recultivation in apocalyptic times
The inaugural exhibition of the newly minted Kyoto City Kyocera Museum of Art highlights the career of acclaimed photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Mar 9, 2020
A sea change for Japanese sculptors
"Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2020" in Western Australia, brings together eight Japanese sculptural works, including Harayuki Uchida's new 2.5-ton stainless-steel kinetic "Merry Gate."
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Feb 26, 2020
Bamboo crafts: Woven into Japan's art history
The Abbey Collection takes viewers through a modern history of bamboo crafting, from its late recognition as fine art in the 19th century to the elaborate artistic creations of today.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Feb 12, 2020
Japan's postwar aesthetics: compelling if not confusing
The NMAO attempts the difficult task of discerning the "underlying presence of Japanese aesthetics in postwar art.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Jan 25, 2020
'Impossible Architecture': Consider the impossible — find the visionaries
From Vladimir Tatlin's "Monument to the Third International" (1920) to Zaha Hadid's plan for the New National Stadium of Japan, "Impossible Architecture: The Architects' Dreams" eulogizes aborted artistic conceptions — some that technically would have been possible, others purposely preposterous.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Jan 15, 2020
Nino Caruso's monumental contribution
More than 100 pieces, documents and designs have been selected for the Nino Caruso exhibition "Forms of Memory and Space — the world's first retrospective of the Italian ceramist-cum-sculptor's work since his death in 2017.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Jan 2, 2020
Art from the silver lining of life's dark clouds
Threatening the precarious peace of everyday life are unforeseen incidents, disease and emotional turbulence. Such are the narrative threads running through "Song to Life, Struggles of the Soul" at Wacoal Studyhall Kyoto.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Dec 4, 2019
Nakamura Hochu: The Osakan Rinpa pioneer
The Rinpa school of painting's initial phase was formed by the superlative talents of Honami Koetsu (1558-1637) and Tawaraya Sotatsu (c. 1570-c. 1630) in late 16th-century Kyoto. The aesthetics resonated with the grand and powerful ornamental inclinations of the Momoyama Period (1573-1603) — gold leaf screens, bold palettes, and abundant bird, animal and flower motifs.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Nov 27, 2019
Ryonosuke Shimomura: An eclectic rule breaker
At school, Ryonosuke Shimomura conceived art techniques that led one teacher to think he was color blind. Yet his unusual approach led him to become a principal of the Pan Real Art Association — Japan's influential avant-garde Japanese-style painting groups.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Nov 13, 2019
Maruyama Okyo's legacy of drawing from life
In his 1808 book, "Chronicle of Audacity and Timidity" ("Tandai Shoshinroku"), scholar and poet Ueda Akinari satirized, "When Okyo came on the scene, sketching from life (shasei) became popular, and all the paintings in Kyoto began being done by the same method!"
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Oct 29, 2019
The scrolls that keep immortal poets truly alive
The Kyoto National Museum brings together the largest number of fragments of the 13th-century scrolls "Satake Version, Thirty-Six Immortal Poets," since it was cut up into pieces and dispersed among the wealthy in 1919.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Oct 1, 2019
Shaun Tan's glimmers of hope in somber times
Tan's imaginative worlds are usually a little dark, featuring dystopias, alienation, suffering, bureaucracy and monsters — but the camaraderie between family, friends and strangers lead to hope and happy endings.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Sep 17, 2019
An enlightening buildup to Viennese modernism
"Vienna on the Path to Modernism" at The National Museum of Art, Osaka, is essentially an illustrated history of sociopolitical developments leading to the city flourishing as one of the world's great cultural centers from the mid-18th century.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Sep 10, 2019
Fashion is a game with a dress code to crack
Fashion can be identified as a game: The rules are not clear, but there are conducts to be observed, codes to be broken, winners, losers and, finally, stylistic exhaustion.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Aug 27, 2019
Tokutaro Yamamura: A gatekeeper of art history
The Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art presents Tokutaro Yamamura's full collection of Japanese postwar avant-garde art collection for the first time in two decades.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Aug 13, 2019
Genta Ishizuka: Beneath and on the surface
Contemporary urushi lacquerware artist Genta Ishizuka — winner of the 2019 Kyoto's Best Young Artist Award and Loewe Foundation Craft Prize — re-imagines the decorative beauty of traditional lacquer in unusual and sculptural pieces.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Jul 30, 2019
Joan Miro and his 'assassination' of painting
In 1927, Joan Miro (1893-1983) claimed he wanted to "assassinate" painting. Eventually he hit upon a means of doing it u2014 sculpture.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Jul 16, 2019
Yokoyama Kazan: The Edo Period influencer
The Edo Period painter Yokoyama Kazan's imaginative works depicting Kyoto, inspired not only artists but also intellectuals and writers, including the novelist Natsume Soseki.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Jun 18, 2019
Eiko Yamazawa: Cracking the glass ceiling of photography
One of the first successful female photographers in Japan, Eiko Yamazawa was not only an adept commercial photographer, but a pioneer of abstraction at the forefront of constructed photography.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Jun 11, 2019
The Osakan artists who bucked the system
Osakan paintings have conventionally emphasized regional traits of humor, boisterousness and fun. "Do You Know Osaka Painting Circles" at the Shokado Garden Art Museum, however, reminds viewers of its farther flung painting traditions.

Longform

At the Akan International Crane Center, just north of the city of Kushiro proper, visitors can see the majestic red-crowned crane — a symbol of Hokkaido.
Faces of the north: A Hokkaido town grapples with depopulation