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About the exhibition “Image Narratives” at The National Art Center, Tokyo “Literature in Contemporary Japanese Art” at The National Art Center, Tokyo

Keizo Kitajima, TSILCARL VILLAGE ARMENIA (From the series USSR 1991), 1991/2019, Pigment print 66.0×93.0cm Collection of the artist ©KITAJIMA KEIZO From August 28 to November 11, 2019, The National Art Center, Tokyo is pleased to present a group exhibition by six Japanese contemporary artists. The title of the exhibition is “The Story of Images. Literature in Japanese Contemporary Art”. As the title suggests, the exhibition focuses on literary expression in the Japanese contemporary art scene. Literary elements are common in the exhibited works, which are expressed in a poetic and figurative way. Rather than expressing a direct message, they suggest imagining the times, places and people in the works. According to the official announcement of the exhibition by the National Art Center, Tokyo, there is a phrase, “Ut pictura poesis,” which comes from the ancient Roman poet Horace’s Ars Poetica and means “poetry is poetry, just as painting is poetry. This phrase is often quoted when explaining how painting (visual art) and poetry are closely connected [1]. The six Japanese contemporary artists featured in this exhibition range in age from Keizo Kitajima, born in the 1950s, to Miyagashi, born in the 1980s. Upon entering the museum, the first room is occupied by Yuichiro Tamura, who is active in Japan and abroad. The entire room is occupied by his new work, “Sky Eyes,” based on the concept of “hallucination. The artist focused on the fact that the Japanese word “hallucination” means “eyes in the sky. Thinking about the stories derived from words and images will be more helpful in appreciating his works. In the second exhibition room, Miyagashi created a new installation work for this exhibition, “In a Welllit-lighting Room. This exhibition will feature a new installation work, “Dialogue between Two Characters,” consisting of 26 photographs, 5 videos, and sound. The landscapes and conversations presented in the work are closely connected to Miyagi’s experiences. Miyagi has been focusing on issues of sexuality and minorities in relation to Okinawa. By stimulating the audience’s imagination through his works, he questions the social issues surrounding Okinawa. Erika Kobayashi, My Torch, 2019, C print 54.9×36.7cm (each, set of 47) Collection of the artist ©Erika Kobayashi Courtesy of Yutaka Kikutake Gallery Photo: Kasane Nogawa Tokyo-based artist Erika Kobayashi will be showing an installation in room3, which traces the story of uranium, the raw material for nuclear weapons, and the 1940 Tokyo Olympic torch. Kobayashi focused on the ironic story of how the Olympic torch never reached Japan and the uranium that Japan tried to import from Germany to develop an atomic bomb. Fourth, Yasuko Toyoshima reinterprets shelves and panels. In the “Shelf” series, Toyoshima has created shelves with legs that are much more elaborately designed than the main panels of the shelf. In this way, Toyoshima reverses the main and secondary roles of the shelf. This simple transformation of a common object makes us think about our perception of it. Also, in his panel series, instead of processing the surface of the plywood panel, he processes the back side of the panel. Yasuko Toyoshima, Square Margin Throwing Star, 2018, Plywood, linseed oil, oil paint 91.0×91.0×2.7cm Collection of the artist Room 5 representative Chikako Yamashiro presents video works on issues and problems related to U.S. military bases and war in Okinawa from the perspective of local people.” Chin Bin Western Newly created for this exhibition, “Representations of Family” deals with local issues surrounding the planned construction of a new U.S. Marine base in the Henoko district of Nago, Okinawa. Finally, Room 6 presents the series “USSR 1991,” “EASTERN EUROPE 1983-1984,” and “UNTITLED RECORDS” by long-time photographer Keizo Kitajima.” The “USSR 1991” and “EASTERN EUROPE 1983-1984” series provide a sense of the atmosphere of society and people in the communist Eastern European countries and the Soviet Union at a time when the Soviet state system was collapsing. In addition to his series of historical photographs of people and society, Kitajima also focuses on landscape photography, as you can see from his “UNTITLED RECORDS” series. This series includes abandoned huts, warehouses, tents, and rubble after the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. The works of six artists are displayed in six different rooms, so that visitors can enjoy the different characteristics and diverse appeal of contemporary art. Therefore, it can be said that the exhibition features a wide variety of noteworthy works and artists. However, we should not forget that it is also possible to find literary expressions while understanding the contemporary art scene in Japan. In this exhibition, “The Story of Images. Image Narratives: Literature in Contemporary Art in Japan” under the broad theme of “Image Narratives: Literature in Contemporary Art in Japan. “Image Narratives. Literature in Contemporary Japanese Art” The National Art Center, Tokyo Dates: Wednesday, August 28, 2019 – Monday, November 11, 2019 Opening hours: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. * Fridays and Saturdays from August to September: 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. * Fridays and Saturdays from October to November: 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Last entry is 30 minutes before closing. Closed on Tuesdays * The museum will be open on Tuesday, October 22, and closed on Wednesday, October 23. Admission is 1,000 yen (adults) and 500 yen (university students). General admission 1,000 yen (adults), 500 yen (college students) Advance/group 800 yen (adults), 300 yen (college students) Article written by: Jeongeun Jo Born in Korea, lives in Japan. One of the members of TRiCERA, she graduated from the Graduate School of Fine Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts. She is also an artist herself. Paragraphs [1] https://www.nact.jp/english/exhibitions/2019/gendai2019/

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