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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:

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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.

Designer Yusuke Seki constructs a walkable platform made from 25,000 ceramic pots, bowls, and cups

Yusuke Seki - Ceramics

Beautiful Decay (by Hayley Evans):

Tokyo-based designer Yusuke Seki has constructed a stunning, walkable platform made from 25,000 pieces of scrapped pottery and porcelain. The structure is part of the Maruhiro Ceramics gallery, located in Hasami, Nagasaki prefecture, a region known for its production and distribution of tableware dating back to the 17th century. Each fragment was collected from local factories that had disposed the ceramics prior to the glazing process, deeming them defective. After restoring the pieces and assembling them like bricks mixed with poured concrete, Seki infuses them with a renewed creative purpose. A statement from Seki’s website further explains the history and the design approach that drives the platform:

“A renovation of the pre-existing flagship shop, Yusuke Seki’s design marries an architectural knowledge to the artisanal know-how of the region, and in so doing, creates an entirely location- and situation-specific experience. Seki’s vision is to posit the designer as interpreter. His methods seek to amplify Hasami’s heritage by drawing out and translating the potential of the complete local environment, unifying its people. A minimal design interference, a modification in the level of the floor, not only utilizes the pre-existing space to alter the perspective and experiences held by the users until the present, but also gives birth to an entirely new sense of flow within.”

In a fascinating exploration of space, Seki has designed the stacked ceramics so that they enhance the customer’s interaction with the displayed tableware. Low shelves placed on the surface allow visitors to peruse from below, and if they so wish, they can climb up the stairs to the top of the platform for a closer look. The very act of walking on the ceramics creates an embodied experience of tradition and history; delicate materials, once discarded, are made strong, creative, and participatory, signifying the endurance of and respect for a time-honored cultural art form.

Visit Seki’s website to view more of his works.

Yusuke Seki - Ceramics

Yusuke Seki - Ceramics

Yusuke Seki - Ceramics

Chiharu Shiota’s ‘The Key In The Hand’ art installation at La Biennale di Venezia

Art Basel Hong Kong 2015 recap

Experience Japanese culture in a new way, inside a glass teahouse at an ancient temple

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RocketNews 24:

Imagine yourself nearly floating in the sky, surrounded by green trees and fluffy clouds. Now you sip some green tea and feel completely at peace. Does this sound too good to be true? It isn’t, because now you can actually experience this in Kyoto.

At the Blue Dragon Hall of Shorenin Temple, artist Tokujin Yoshioka has designed a clear glass teahouse sitting amongst the trees of Higashiyama, one of the city’s famous mountains.

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The art installation, dubbed Glass Teahouse-Kouan,” was first thought up by Yoshioka back in 2002. It wasn’t until 2011 at the Venice Biennale international art show, though, that he announced the design, bringing along a model version of his vision. It took another few years to get permission and to finish the piece, which is now sitting grandly next to age-old camphor trees.

The teahouse is a one-year long art piece dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the sister city exchange between Kyoto and Florence, Italy. Yoshioka chose to create this clear building in an attempt to allow people to see and feel the energy of nature and its deep connection to Japanese culture.

While participating in the tradition of tea ceremony in the small indoor space, you are still close to the heart and sights of nature, giving a sense of limitlessness. This unification between microcosm and macrocosm is exactly what the artist was trying to achieve.

▼ The glass teahouse is the first of its kind.

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Some would argue that the inorganic glass would taint the experience or bring about a cold, hard sensation. However, due to the perfect transparency of the glass, the room is flooded with natural light, bringing a warmth and ease to the structure.

The wooden stage that the Glass Teahouse elegantly sits upon is the look-out platform of the newly relocated and reconstructed Seiryuden (Blue Dragon Hall) on the Shogunzuka mound at the foot of Higashiyama. The hall, part of Shorenin Temple, is a converted martial arts dojo, originally built during the Taisho era (early 1900s) and was re-opened after its restoration in October 2014.

▼ The night view from the new observation deck at Seiryuden.

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The observation deck stands 220 meters above ground level, is five times bigger than that of nearby Kiyomizu Temple and has an unobstructed view of the city below, making it a new popular destination for tourists and locals alike.

The Shogunzuka mound and the observation platform at Seiryuden would be enough to get us up there, but now with the addition of “Glass Teahouse-Kouan,” our mouths are watering with excitement and thirst for green tea.

The hall and look-out platform are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a 500-yen (US$4) entry fee for adults. The “Glass Teahouse-Kouan,” however, will only be there for one year, from April 9, 2015 to April 2016.

While spring will most likely be the most popular time to visit, the crystal clear teahouse will be, without a doubt, a great place to experience all of Japan’s beautiful seasons.

Father and son in China turn car parts into profit by building enormous Transformer models

Transformers car parts in disguise

RocketNews 24:

What do you do with a background in fine arts, an empty factory, and used car parts? Make realistic models of Transformers, of course! At least, that’s what this father-son duo in Hunan Province, China decided to do, and they’re making a very lucrative living do so.

With the exploding popularity of the Transformers films in China, this farmer saw an excellent business opportunity and ran with it. While we have seen the ingenuity of Chinese farmers before, this man’s work definitely takes the cake. These guys are literally turning one man’s trash into another man’s treasure.

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The farmer’s endeavor was not without difficulty – the first model he worked on took him three years to finish, but with the help of his son he was able to complete it. The duo’s work has rightfully garnered a lot of attention, and the initial hardships were undoubtedly worth it, as they’re now raking in over one million yuan (over US$160,000) per year selling their models.

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