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Matt Larking

For Matt Larking's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

It's a woman's world inside manga

Art Mar 25, 2011

It's a woman's world inside manga

Bijin-ga (pictures of beautiful women), long a staple of ukiyo-e (woodblock prints) and its erotic sub-genre shunga (spring pictures), is mostly moribund in contemporary art. A variant form, however, lives on in shojo manga, serialized comic books that are often flush with romantic narratives ...

The thing itself

Art Nov 10, 2005

The thing itself

In October 1968 Nobuo Sekine dug a hole in the ground, shaped the extracted dirt into a large cylinder and called the work "Phase -- Mother Earth." It was probably an experiment, influenced by discussions of the new Land Art and Minimalist works taking ...

Independent brushstrokes

Art Sep 15, 2005

Independent brushstrokes

A commonly heard accusation is that Japanese oil painters are followers rather than innovators. It is a criticism that has been made against many early adopters in this country -- be they filmmakers, fashion designers, chefs or rock musicians -- and one that has ...

Artists' works join the EU

Art Aug 17, 2005

Artists' works join the EU

In the last 30 years, the central eastern European nations of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary have experienced tumultuous times. Under communism, state control and censorship forced artists to be regional and nationalistic, but since the soft slides into capitalism and democracy ...

Should Buddhist art be left in the temples?

Art Apr 28, 2004

Should Buddhist art be left in the temples?

The most poignant work in Kyoto National Museum's "Treasures of a Great Zen Temple, The Nanzenji: Commemorating the 700th Memorial Year of Emperor Kameyama" is a hand scroll titled "Prayer for the Prosperity of Zenrinzenji [Nanzenji]" from the hand of Emperor Kameyama himself. The ...

Klimt's women: more feared than loved?

Art Jul 23, 2003

Klimt's women: more feared than loved?

Pornography and women's liberation: It is an incongruous coupling, but one that characterizes the artistic output of Gustav Klimt. The painter and designer was well-known for his ambivalent relations with women -- and at his death he was discovered to have fathered no fewer than ...

On a director's storyboard far, far away

Art Jul 2, 2003

On a director's storyboard far, far away

Is there a person in the Western world -- or even globally, given Hollywood's cultural reach -- who is unaware of "Star Wars"? In a society increasingly described as amnesiac, in which pop culture seems to come with an expiry date, George Lucas' movie ...