NIPPON MANIA. Contemporary Art from Japan

Tree, 2013/14, tempera on jute, 60 x 50 cm © Leiko Ikemura and VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2022.

With the exhibition NIPPON MANIA, the museum focuses on current Japanese art, which from a eurocentric perspective is still obscured by clichés. For as Europeans, we still have eminent difficulties in fathoming the Japanese mentality, in not misunderstanding their codes of behavior and subtly developed sign language. - Japanese thinking and feeling will remain a mystery to most people who have grown up in this hemisphere. And when all terms for describing Japan's culture, which remains opaque, fail, blurred notions of eastern "spirituality" come into play for the western observer, which conveniently subsume all that seems in any form Far Eastern-exotic and metaphysical. Regardless of whether we are talking about the subtle aesthetics of the tea ceremony or the no less alienating Japanese art of the present day.

The exhibition attempts to fathom which of the characterizations of Japanese art actually apply, which is described as perfectionistically smooth to designerly lacquered, essential in its minimalism, purist, hyperaesthetic, and stripped of any social pretensions. The aim of the survey exhibition at the Kunsthaus Kaufbeuren is to show the fractures and points of friction at which such trivializations fail. For in Japan, historically experienced in absorbing foreign influences, a cultural heritage that is still alive today is combined with the innovation mania of a highly technical society. This peculiar symbiosis in Japanese art and culture ultimately touches on the highly topical question of identity preservation in a world that is increasingly determined by virtual realities.

Artists: Nobuyoshi Araki, Katsumi Hayakawa, Leiko Ikemura, Toko Izumi, Keicho Ito, Aya Kawato, Ryo Kinoshita, Yayoi Kusama, Moriyuki Kuwabara, Kayako Mizumoto, Keiko Sadakane, Keita Sagaki, Satomi Shirai, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Kenichi Yokono

Source: Kunsthaus Kaufbeuren


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