Tokyo is undeniably one of the most exciting cities when one takes into consideration its unique and vibrant art scene. Therefore, what better way to spend your time in Tokyo than to explore the various exhibitions on display this Fall/Winter season?
Art lovers in Tokyo have reason to celebrate. Internationally renown artist Takashi Murakami’s recent work, The 500 Arhat (2012), would be exhibited in the Mori Art Museum from October 31, 2015 to March 6, 2016. The newly renovated Mori Art Museum which frequently stages world-class exhibitions is a fitting place to house the long-awaited 100-meter long painting.
Murakami who is best known for his ‘Superflat’ art is one of the most active and notable artists in the global scene today. ‘Superflat’ as a concept is derived from the inherent flattened aesthetic of Japanese pop-culture with the backdrop of a shallow consumer culture that arose during the post-war Japanese landscape. Departing from the anime-inspired art of ‘Superflat’, the 500 Arhat painting which features the “enlightened followers” of Buddhism and is dedicated to Qatar, one of the first nations to provide help during the aftermath of the 2011 Great Eastern Japan Earthquake. The painting is not only one of the largest ever produced, it is also a challenge to the contemporary art scene and Murakami’s own art style and direction. Instead of the pop-culture inspired art we are familiar with, this exhibition is an expression of Murakami’s exploration into the role of religion and art during times of social change and turmoil.
Ukiyo-e, “pictures of the floating world”, are woodblock prints and paintings that became a popular art form from 17th to 19th Century Japan. The common themes of this art form were landscapes, erotica and kabuki actors. The most famous Ukiyo-e works are from the Edo-era as the art form reached its peak with the birth of two great masters Hokusai and Hiroshige. However, this exhibition introduces ukiyo-e created during the end of the Edo-period to the Meiji era. The focus of this exhibition is the dynamics between photography and ukiyo-e as Japanese society undergoes social and technological development. Both Ukiyo-e and photography sought inspiration from the other which allowed for the creation of more vibrant and peculiar works during this era. The Ukiyo-e to Photography exhibition would be held at the Edo-Tokyo Museum from October 10 to December 6, 2015.
An exhibition examining the 45-year career of an internationally renowned designer, Miyake Issey would be held at the National Art Center, Tokyo from March 16 to June 13, 2016. To those who are familiar with the innovative creations of Miyake, this exhibition would be a great opportunity to understand the ideas and thoughts put into the production of clothes that are not “merely fashion” but rather an expression of the lives of both the wearer and the creator. Miyake always seeks to explore new possibilities for his creations, taking into consideration both versatility and comfort while inspired by new technology available. Miyake’s works not only transcends conventions, it is also an inspiration for other creative designers and individuals to explore their own creative boundaries. This exhibition provides an ideal platform for viewers to be exposed to the visionary world of Miyake.
All three exhibitions showcase the multi-faceted aspect of Japanese culture that makes the nation so fascinating and intriguing. Do visit any of the exhibitions if you are in Tokyo this Fall to Spring season as you take a peek into the most imaginative and ingenious creators in Japan.