"Japanese culture has become too clean. Our five senses are too blunt," says artist Fuyuko Matsui in a recent interview at the Yokohama Museum of Art. "I think Japan needs some fear to stimulate the sense of pain."
Matsui's works, undoubtably deliver a sense of pain and horror to the viewer. An artist highly skilled in nihonga (Japanese painting) techniques, she sets herself apart from others in the genre with her unsettling subject matter. Eerie images of female yūrei (ghosts of vengeful souls) and supernatural dissections are frequently found throughout Matsui's first major solo exhibition, which covers the initial 10 years of her career.
Matsui, however, says she wants her audience to experience more than just chills. There is also hope. The exhibition's title, "Becoming Friends with All the Children in the World", is taken from a major work Matsui completed as her graduation piece at Tokyo University of the Arts. Such an adorable title seems more appropriate for a children's book. As it turns out, the title was inspired by a strong concept Matsui had as a child, a time when the hyperbolic idea seemed entirely possible to her.