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World Rugby Museum adult ticket £12.50. Concessions available.
Music in Ukiyo-e figured in many ways – through the act of listening or playing, or through music’s place in relation to a depicted character, perhaps a theatre actor or a geisha. These prints illustrate scenes of music making or scenes containing musical elements that are drawn from everyday life and from various Kabuki and Noh plays featuring stories of the past.
Japanese Gallery Kensington presents a collection of Ukiyo-e featuring musical instruments and those who were part of the world of entertainment. Prints by Utamaro Kitagawa, Yoshitoshi Tsukioka and Chikanobu Yoshu, amongst others, offer and insightful view into the world of traditional music and its importance in the visual culture of Japan during the Edo and Meiji periods.
The ukiyo or floating world was a domain of theatre and music, containing within it the idea of carefree existence, living for the moment and relishing in the aesthetic aspects of being. Music in Japanese visual culture also functioned as an important accompaniment and endorsement of beauty, playing a significant role in portraits of actors and women.
These print could be enjoyed audibly as much as they could visually and were designed to evoke the music associated with a given character’s identity. The emphasis was not so much on recalling the plot, but on remembering how one experienced the sound and feeling of the drama.
Beauty prints captured a similar sentiment. Those who could afford the company of geisha and courtesans wished to recall their experience. These women were regarded as the epitome of art and beauty and the presence of music highlighted their talents. In a sense, beauty in a geisha was incomplete without musical accompaniment.
Manga is a visual narrative art form that has become a multimedia global phenomenon, telling stories with themes from gender to adventure, in real or imagined worlds.
Immersive and playful, the exhibition will explore manga’s global appeal and cultural crossover, showcasing original Japanese manga and its influence across the globe, from anime to ‘cosplay’ dressing up.
This influential art form entertains, inspires and challenges – and is brought to life like never before in this ground-breaking exhibition.
The colourful and disarming artworks by the Japanese pop painter Hikari Shimoda will intertwine with the emotional and poetic Street Art by the Italian Millo, filling up Dorothy Circus Gallery’s walls. The intense dialogue between their artworks highlights their unique representation of adolescence and modern youth.
The Japanese artist Hikari Shimoda paints using bright colours and illustrative techniques that combine brushstrokes, lettering and collage. Her work is uniquely made by a juxtaposition of horror and sweetness, a dichotomy that perfectly reflects today’s society. Stareyed children are a direct quote to the superhero child of the Manga culture, and their desire and strength to grow to protect all the children of the world from violence and loneliness. At the same time these characters also reveal the uncertainty and fragility of their own future and that of a tainted and lost childhood.
Hikari Shimoda will be attending the Opening event on 14 June 2019. FREE: RSVP to email@example.com to attend.
Visitors is an ongoing series of portrait characters by Ushiki Masanori, who is regarded as a cult figure in the art world of Japan and, much like his predecessors Yoshitomo Nara and Takashi Murakami, Ushiki’s aesthetic centres around diverse themes of childhood and contemporary media. Visitors was born on Ushiki’s Instagram timeline on August 13th 2016, and faithfully he continues to post a new character once a day, every day. From sci-fi monsters to beautiful angry alien girls, Ushiki’s Visitors pay tribute to the many expressions and characters the artist met throughout his youth, familiar hallmarks from popular culture that resonate with our collective consciousness.
Ushiki is a rising star with the ability to capture aspects of anime, manga or Tokusatsu (live-action anime) and to re-mix these elements into a fantasy world of creatures that delight the eye and tickle the senses. Equally so, his sophisticated linework and monochrome palette captures the preposterous with a complex elegance.
In his debut European exhibition, Pocko Gallery will be home to Ushiki’s characters throughout the summer and copies of the book, Visitors, will be available to purchase at the exhibition.
There will be a Study Day on lacquer with specialist lectures, workshop, and gallery talks during the exhibition.
The exhibition aims to promote a better understanding of the craft tradition in Japan, the material lacquer, and the technique of Makie. Koyanagi uses the traditional technique of Makie, but creates objects in innovative modern design that appeal to the contemporary taste. The artist is keen to show how these objects are used in everyday life of Japanese in contemporary society.
Open: Tuesday – Saturday: 10:30 – 17:00
Late night Thursday until 20:00
Closed: Sundays, Mondays and Bank Holidays
OPENING RECEPTION: 1 August Thu 18:00-20:00
SPECIAL OPENING: 3 August Sat 12:00-18:00
VMR – Vanessa Milito Rodriguez – is an Italian-Colombian artist born in Milan, Italy. She has become fascinated with the traditional Japanese tattoos, Irezumi, which then led her to the discovery of Ukiyo-e woodblock prints. In 2016 she moved to Paris, France, where her love for Ukiyo-e and Japanese culture has grown even further as Paris is the birthplace of the ’Japonisme’ art movement.
The title ‘Lost in Transition’ is inspired by Sofia Coppola’s movie ‘Lost in Translation’. The preparation for the exhibition took place in France, as well as during Vanessa’s first solo trip to Japan. The ‘transition’ exists in discovering and comparing what she had always imagined about Japan, and what she actually saw and experienced there.
This exhibition celebrates the mix between the traditional Japanese culture and the modern pop culture. The artworks are inspired by the works of Ukiyo-e masters, such as Hokusai and Hasui. The dominant colours are blue and pink – the blue of the Hokusai’s waves and the pink of the neon lights of Shibuya, Tokyo.
The exhibition showcases mostly watercolour paintings, which introduce colourful and carefree objects inspired by Japanese folk toys, like Inu Hariko and Daruma, but also the artist’s own interpretation of Bijinga, beautiful women, created with a mix of Japanese markers, Chinese ink and Posca paint, as well as woodblock prints created during her recent stay in Japan.
Anno’s Journey: the World of Anno Mitsumasa Exhibition at Japan House London
This exhibition explores the work of Anno Mitsumasa, one of Japan’s greatest children’s book illustrators and authors, who is best known for his picture books, with few or no words, published from the late 1960s onwards. The display illustrates the story of Anno Mitsumasa’s life and creative journey, features a reading library with many of Anno’s 300 published books, introduces Japanese language for children and beginners, and explores Anno’s remarkably varied work.
Additionally, the Embassy of Japan will host a more extensive exhibition of Anno’s landscape paintings in August-September.
*Opening hours may vary depending on events, so please check our website on the day of your visit
The first showing of the Japanese artist Erika Kobayashi in the UK. The exhibition explores her family history strangely intertwined with the discovery of uranium, radioactivation, invention of atomic bomb, and Sherlock Holmes.
Erika Kobayashi is a singular artist: she moves seamlessly to and from a wide range of media for her creation; manga, novels and visual art, always with strong messages to convey. The themes across her media of choice stay constant — things that are invisible, time, history, family, memory, and traces of places — but she treats the core concept with distinctive approaches for each medium in ways that can be only done with that particular medium. A natural story teller, in manga and novel the artist builds the case with layers and webs of relatable anecdotes, often conjuring up space and time, slowly drawing in the readers and makes the point. In visual art Kobayashi is more direct, almost confronting audience with bold images that lay out the issues in front of them and ask questions; it is all about the power of image.
Curated by Hikotaro Kanehira, the upcoming exhibition comprises photographies, short video, drawings and other materials that feature short stories. But again, it is the eclectic mix of media and unusual combination of photographic and video images, figurative drawings and verses, that construct Kobayashi’s unparalleled universe that is also a peculiar amalgam of what are loosely defined as ‘art’ and a wide scope of popular culture, which may be a mirror image of what we are in today’s world.
Erika Kobayashi “In My Hand— The Fire of Prometheus”, 2019 C-print 43.2cmx35.6cm © Erika Kobayashi, Courtesy Yutaka Kikutake Gallery, Photo: Kasane Nogawa
Erika Kobayashi (b.1978, Tokyo)
lives and works in Tokyo.
Recent solo exhibitions: “1F in the Forest of Wild Birds” Yutaka Kikutake Gallery, Tokyo (2019), “Trinity” Karuizawa New Art Museum, Nagano (2017). Group exhibitions include: “Image Narratives: Literature in Japanese Contemporary Art” The National Art Center, Tokyo (2019), “Women Imagining Rooms: About the Diary of Lady Sarashina” Ichihara Lakeside Museum, Chiba (2019), “Roppongi Crossing 2016: My Body, Your Voice,” Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2016); “Living Locally –Reconsidering Critical Regionalism,” ARTS MAEBASHI (2015), “Your Dear Kitty, the book of Memories,” collaboration with The Future, Lloyd Hotel and JCC, Amsterdam (2015), and “The Radiants,” Bortolami Gallery, New York (2015). Residency with the Asian Cultural Council, NYC (2007-2008).
Nominated for the major literature awards including Mishima Yukio Award and Akutagawa Award both in 2014 for her novel “Breakfast with Madame Curie”. Other publications include: “Hikari no kodomo LUMINOUS (Children of Light: Luminous)” volume 1 and 2, (2013 and 2016) “Your Dear Kitty” (2011).
Kobayashi’s father is a psychiatrist and a Sherlockian, Tsukasa Kobayashi.
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