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Picks :
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Picks is a monthly sampling of Japan's art scene, offering commentary by a variety of reviewers about exhibitions at museums and galleries in recent weeks, with an emphasis on contemporary art by young artists.

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image image 15 January 2018
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Station to Station
10 November 2017 - 21 January 2018
art area B1
(Osaka)
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Located in the underground concourse of Osaka's Naniwabashi Station, art area B1 produces an annual Train Art Festival that addresses the history and culture of railways from diverse creative perspectives. This year some 20 artists display their work under the direction of the show's designated main artist, graphic designer Fumio Tachibana.

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World Book Design 2016-17
1 December 2017 - 4 March 2018
Printing Museum P&P Gallery
(Tokyo)
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Some 200 prizewinning book designs are assembled here, including those from the March 2017 "Best Book Design from all over the World" competition in Leipzig as well as winners of similar contests in Japan, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada, China, and the Czech Republic. Since 2017 was the "Year of Czech Culture in Japan," works from that country are showcased in a special corner.

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Hokusai and Japonisme

21 October 2017 - 28 January 2018

The National Museum of Western Art
(Tokyo)
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Since the 1988 Japonisme exhibition held at this same museum, a number of shows have examined the phenomenon and the boom it enjoyed in late 19th-century Europe. There were several stages to Japonisme: initially European artists simply painted pictures of Japanese art and crafts. Subsequently, however, the Impressionists began studying the colors and compositions of ukiyo-e, incorporating elements of Japanese art into their own. That makes it hard to identify specific influences, but this show makes it clear that Hokusai, for one, had a formidable impact on modern Western art.

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Wild: Untamed Mind

20 October 2017 - 4 February 2018

21_21 Design Sight
(Tokyo)

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"The untamed is elegant": such is the bold premise for this show, which challenges viewers to consider what it means to be "wild" or "untamed" (yasei). With philosopher, anthropologist and religious scholar Shinichi Nakazawa at the helm, the exhibition scrutinizes "wildness" through the eyes of Kumagusu Minakata, a naturalist whose quest for the untamed essence of things took him to the United States and England during the Meiji era (1868-1912).
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Akira Otsubo: Shadow in the House
8 January - 18 February 2018
Art Lab Aichi
(Aichi)
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In Otsubo's "Shadow in the House" photo series, her subject is the interior space of houses that contain multilayered memories accumulated through the passage of time and changes of ownership. Lately she has pursued a thorough study of private Japanese homes requisitioned by U.S. Occupation Forces after World War II. This show introduces new works featuring four such houses still standing in Aichi Prefecture.
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Kimono Made of Sarasa

3 October - 21 November 2017

Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum
(Tokyo)
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Sarasa is the Japanese term for a style of printed calico cloth that originated in India, where it flourished in the 13th century, reaching Japan in the 16th or 17th century. The early Edo period saw the production of Japanese imitations of imported sarasa, but the originals remained in high demand because the domestic knockoffs could not replicate their vivid colors. Highlighting this exhibition are 22 long-preserved masterpieces of imported Indian sarasa.
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90 Years of Kinderbook: The world of children traced through pictures and songs
21 October 2017 - 14 January 2018
Printing Museum, Tokyo
(Tokyo)
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Kinderbook is a series of childcare-oriented picture books that has been published monthly since 1927 by Tokyo-based Froebel-Kan. This 90th-anniversary retrospective features both published volumes and original artwork, with a special focus on the printing of illustrated magazines. Adviser and editor Takeo Takei was well versed in printing technology and experimented with such techniques as color-separated illustrations to achieve the desired results.
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Yuriko Iyanaga solo exhibition: images / or paintings
24 - 29 October 2017
Kunst Arzt
(Kyoto)
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The works shown here were all created with computer paint tools. What distinguishes them is that each includes not only the finished version (a still image) but also moving images showing the painting process, revisions and the like. What's more, the finished pictures are sometimes overwritten and new compositions begun. In short, these are paintings with no clear-cut beginning or end -- an innovative concept indeed.
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Eikoh Hosoe - "Genesis: Portraits of Artists in their Formative Years"
28 October - 18 November 2017
YOD Gallery
(Osaka)
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A solo exhibition of works selected from the revered photographer's titular collection, published in 2012. The book consisted of portraits taken between 1967 and 1975 of young artists then active on Japan's cultural scene: Tatsumi Hijikata, Shuji Terayama, Tadanori Yokoo, Yoshiharu Tsuge, Yayoi Kusama, and Taro Okamoto among others. This was one show guaranteed to please photography fans everywhere.
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Yuki Hayashi: I recognize a cat as a cat.
17 November - 3 December 2017

Gallery PARC
(Kyoto)

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Hayashi is known for video works made by digitizing huge quantities of photos shot by himself and others, then cutting, superimposing or otherwise manipulating them. The theme of this show is the fate of the "image" amid the changes brought about by the artificial intelligence juggernaut, and the evolving relationship between humans and AI. Though it might be overkill to call these works prophetic, they definitely show us one potential aspect of our future. At the least it is a groundbreaking body of work.
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