An axis for artistic and creative-types of the Asian persuasian… Redefining Otaku Culture.

Asia Society art exhibition: “Kamakura: Realism and Spirituality in the Sculpture of Japan”

Nyoirin Kannon. Kamakura period, early 14th century. Japanese cypress (hinoki) with pigment, gold powder, and cut gold leaf (kirikane). H. 19 1/2 x W. 15 x D. 12 in. (49.5 x 38.1 x 30.5 cm). Asia Society, New York: Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection
Asia Society/Wall Street Journal:

Last week, the Wall Street Journal featured Asia Society‘s upcoming Kamakura: Realism and Spirituality in the Sculpture of Japan exhibition as one of several ways to “travel the world” and absorb international culture without ever leaving New York:

This exhibition links artistic style to spiritual practice. As religious trends of the time brought worshipers closer to their deities, sculptors pursued innovations in woodwork, carving expressive, humanlike forms that were intended to “come alive” during public ritual and private devotion. The show features a stellar lineup of figures, mostly carved in cypress and adorned with gilding and lacquer. Look for the miniature Buddha figures and sutra text, fascinating examples of tiny items that artists left embedded in hollow spaces to empower their figures from within.

The Kamakura exhibition begins on February 9 and goes through May 8.

Click here for more information about the exhibit.

Exhibit in Kyoto features collaboration of anime and 400-year-old Rinpa school of painting

 

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RocketNews 24 (by Kay):

This is what happens when you combine centuries-old traditional Japanese painting with modern anime, and we love it!

If you’re interested in traditional Japanese art, you may be familiar with the Rinpa school of painting, which has a history that can be traced all the way back to the 17th century. It so happens that this year marks the 400th anniversary since one of the school’s founders, Hon’ami Kōetsu, established an artistic community (geijutsumura) in the Takagamine area of Kyoto, and an exciting commemorative event titled the “Rinpa x Anime Homage Exhibit” is now going on in the very same city of Kyoto, courtesy of brilliant artwork produced by the anime/comic merchandise retailer CHARA-ANI.

But before we go on, here’s a little bit more background on Rinpa art. The Rinpa school, which has a heavy emphasis on painting but also includes other crafts such as ceramics and lacquerware as well as calligraphy, is thought to have been founded by Hon’ami Kōetsu and Tawaraya Sōtatsu around the early 17th century and later consolidated in the latter half of the century by the prominent artist brothers  Ogata Kōrin and Ogata Kenzan. The name Rinpa is actually a combination of the last syllable of Kōrin’s name and the word “pa” for school.

The school’s art style is known for its bold design compositions, use of silver and gold leaf in the background, and repeated use of recognizable patterns. While natural scenes including flowers and trees are often depicted, animals and people from folktales are also common subjects, like the deities depicted in the famous ”Wind and Thunder Gods” folding screens (Fūjin Raijin-zu) by Sōtatsu.

▼ The magnificent Wind and Thunder Gods folding screen by Sōtatsu:

Fujin

So, taking all of that into consideration, we think you’ll understand why we might be excited by the idea of a collaboration between anime and the Rinpa school, which has a history of producing such notable works of art. And what’s attracting particular attention in this “Rinpa x Anime Homage Exhibit” are the works featuring the long-loved characters created by the manga master Osamu Tezuka himself!

The glittering gold and silver, along with the texture of Japanese paper, have turned Tezuka’s characters into breathtaking, timeless works of art.

▼ Here’s Tezuka’s phoenix (Hi no Tori), a perfect subject for Rinpa-style art, depicted in brilliant gold.

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▼ The father and son lion duo from Kimba the White Lion (Jungle Taitei) looks full of life in this piece.

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In addition to the collaboration with Tezuka anime, you’ll also be able to see on display Rinpa-style art featuring the busy-as-ever Hello Kitty, as well as characters from Lucky Star (Raki☆Suta).

The best part is that you can actually order and purchase some of these illustrations at the exhibit, and they apparently have some stationery and smartphone accessories on sale as well.

The Rinpa x Anime Homage Exhibit will run at the Kyoto Loft department store in the Mina Kyoto shopping complex until January 17, 2016 (except for January 1, when Mina Kyoto will be closed). It could be a fun destination for art and anime fans who are in Kyoto for the new year!

Source: CHARA-ANI websitePR TIMES press release

Ai Weiwei gifts politically charged “Letgo Room” LEGO installation to the National Gallery in Melbourne

Ai Weiwei Gifts Politically Charged “Letgo Room” to the NGV Melbourne
Ai Weiwei at National Gallery of Victoria exhibition Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei has gifted his major new installation “Letgo Room” 2015 to the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). The NGV commissioned the work for its Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei exhibition which opened on December 11 and continues until April 24, 2016.

BlouinArtinfo:

Created using more than two million plastic Lego bricks, the installation comprises twenty portraits Australian activists, advocates and champions of human rights, freedom of speech, freedom of information and freedom of the internet.

Ai established collection points for the Lego bricks around the world earlier in the year, including one at the NGV, after Lego refused to supply him with bricks because the company “cannot approve the use of Legos for political works.”

Portrait subjects include Julian Assange, Geoffrey Robertson QC, Peter Greste, Professor Gillian Triggs, Rosie Batty, The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG, Archie Roach, Julian Burnside AO QC and Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, among others from a wide range of different fields.

Constructed on the artist’s behalf by a team of almost 100 local volunteers and arts students, the work “attests to Ai’s long-standing commitment to freedom of expression and human rights,” according to the NGV.

Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei includes more 120 than works by Ai Weiwei and over 200 works by Andy Warhol, exploring the full scope of both artists’ practice. The exhibition is presented in association with The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, with the participation of Ai Weiwei Studio.

Contemporary artist Li Hongbo’s “Irons for the Ages, Flowers for the Day” arranges thousands of paper weapon sculptures into flowery rainbow towers

Li Hongbo - Sculpture

Design Boom/Beautiful Decay (by Hayley Evans):

Li Hongbo is a Beijing-based artist who builds elaborate and flexible paper sculptures that ripple and shift before our eyes. Featured here is “Irons for the Ages, Flowers for the Day,” a large-scale installation currently on display at the SCAD Museum of Art.

The work—which spans the entirety of a gallery—involves thousands of small paper objects bound together by honeycomb layers of glue. Close up, the bright shapes align themselves like an undulating, flowery rainbow; step back, however, and you’ll see that together the shapes amass into the greater form of guns and artillery. In a surprising clash of innocent colors and delicate paper with the brutality of war, Hongbo produces a curious (and potentially deceitful) optimism for deadly weapons.

Hongbo’s work draws upon the ancient, cultural tradition of paper-making in China, which dates back to the Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD). Inspired by this art form, Hongbo has reinvented it on a grand scale. Other projects include malleable bodies and busts, such as a version of Michelangelo’s David that unfolds spectacularly. The ability to metamorphose is integral to Hongbo’s works; with the politics left aside (or at least ambiguous), his sculptures challenge our perceptions by unsettling solid forms with their built-in fluidity. Whether it’s guns or classical statues, we can’t help but to reconsider the materiality and purpose of objects as they transform before our eyes.

Irons for the Ages, Flowers for the Day” will be showing until January 24th, 2016.

Check out SCAD’s website to learn more.

Li Hongbo - Sculpture

Li Hongbo - Sculpture

Li Hongbo - SculptureLi Hongbo - SculptureLi Hongbo - Sculpture

Takashi Murakami’s “Superflat Collection” at the Yokohama Museum of Art

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Contemporary Japanese artist Takashi Murakami will be the latest to show his own private collection to the public, linking up with the Yokohama Museum of Art to present “Takashi Murakami’s Superflat Collection.”

Taking its name from the postmodern art movement Murakami himself founded, the exhibition promises to display a unique and diverse range of pieces from the likes of Edo period painter Soga Shōhaku, the multitalented Rosanjin, fellow modern pop artist Yoshitomo Nara and German painter and sculptor Anselm Kiefer.

Tickets for the display will be on sale from October 2 until November 30 while the “Superflat Collection” will officially open January 30, 2016 and remain on display through April 3.

Yokohama Museum of Art
3-4-1, Minatomirai, Nishi-ku, Yokohama
Kanagawa, 220-0012
Japan

This exhibition is the first large-scale public showing of the renowned contemporary Japanese artist Takashi Murakami’s private collection centered around contemporary art.

Murakami (b. 1962) received the first PhD in Nihonga (Japanese Painting) to be granted by the Tokyo University of the Arts Graduate School of Fine Arts and has since come to be known worldwide for his extremely polished works blending contemporary art and traditional Japanese painting, high culture and pop culture, East and West. He has held a number of solo exhibitions at prestigious museums around the world.

While energetically pursuing his creativity as an artist, Murakami has also been active as a critic, curator, gallerist, and producer. In recent years, in particular, he has become an avid collector, acquiring a wide variety of artworks in and out of Japan with a perceptive eye and unique aesthetic sensibility. This little known collection, while loosely focused on contemporary art, includes old Japanese and Asian artifacts, European antiques, contemporary pottery, and folk art and crafts. Murakami’s guiding concept of Superflat not only refers to formal aspects he identifies with Japanese art, such as flatness of the picture plane and decorativeness, but also extends to a view of art that rejects hierarchical divisions between different artistic genres or eras and frees artistic activities from definitional boundaries. It is a dynamic, expansive concept that applies to the entirety of the artist’s life and activity as he wrestles with the big question, “What is art?” from various angles.

This exhibition of Murakami’s unique collection, with its overwhelming quantity and diversity, will provide an insight into the sources of the artist’s aesthetic ideas, the nature of art and desire, and the mechanisms that create value in contemporary society, while also encouraging viewers to question art’s conventional context.

Takashi Murakami unveils two new exhibitions for Tokyo and Yokohama

Legendary Japanese artist, Takashi Murakami, has revealed that two new exhibitions of work will be shown in his homeland within the next twelve months. The 500 Arhats, a response to the 2011 Japan Earthquake, is to be exhibited at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo from October 31, 2015 to March 6, 2016 and Takashi Murakami’s Superflat Collection Soga Shohaku and Kitaoji Rosanjin to Anselm Kiefer is to show for the first time at the Yokohama Museum of Art from January 30 to April 3 2016. Murakami, who recently collaborated on a collection with Vans, is also set to feature at Art Basel where Galerie Perrotin will present a solo show by the artist.

The subject of Murakami’s new art is one of the most famous motifs in Zen painting, the circle ensō that symbolizes emptiness, unity and infinity in Zen Buddhism. The 500 Arhats, a masterpiece stretching 100 meters by 3 meters in height represents the 500 wise followers who attained enlightenment, in Zen tradition. Keep an eye on Galerie Perrotin’s website for more details.

Takashi Murakami on ‘Juxtapoz’ Magazine’s 2015 July issue cover