The Superlative Artistry of Japan
Yamaguchi Akira, Department Store: New Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi, 2005, inkjet print. ©YAMAGUCHI Akira, Courtesy of Mizuma Art Gallery.

The Superlative Artistry of Japan

Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre, Burnaby, BC - Nov 7, 2023 - Jan 20, 2024

by Christine Clark

Under the supervision of Yuji Yamashita, art historian and professor at Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo, The Superlative Artistry of Japan is a disparate collection of work by a group of artists and craftspeople, all of whom are extraordinarily skilled and who represent some of the very finest of Japanese art and craft. This exhibition from the Japan Foundation has been travelling the world since 2020, beginning at the Kočevje Regional Museum in Slovenia; other stops include Moldova, Guatemala, the United States and the Dominican Republic.

The exhibition features pieces of traditional arts and crafts chosen from the Meiji era (1868-1912), a time when Japanese artists first began to exhibit internationally, along with Japanese food samples and toys, which are predominantly still handcrafted. Showcased as well as the work of several brilliant contemporary artists who variously create detailed dioramas, tilt-shift photography, miniature industrial landscapes, traditional Nishijin textiles, silkscreened and hand-painted ceramics, detailed ballpoint pen drawings, and decorative ceramic vases and jars.

Highlights include the work of Riusuke Fukahori, Akira Yamaguchi and Yoshihiro Suda. Fukahori, over 20 years, has mastered the art of creating extremely realistic three-dimensional goldfish images by painting layer upon layer of resin poured into bowls and boxes. Yamaguchi is also celebrated for his unusual style. Using classical techniques, he depicts modern and traditional architecture and clothing in his elaborate paintings as an evocation of Japan’s rich history and culture. Suda, meanwhile, is a wood carver who creates surprising gallery installations with his delicate, realistic, and true-to-size flowers and plant life.

Preview party Nov 4, 1-4pm, ticketed event

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