The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto


Collection GalleryThe 5th Collection Gallery Exhibition 2016–2017 (125 works in all)

Collection Gallery

The 5th Collection Gallery Exhibition 2016–2017 (125 works in all)

Exhibition Period

12. 14 (Wed.), 2016 – 2. 12 (Sun.), 2017


The fifth collection gallery exhibition of this fiscal year features a wide diversity of works from our collections according to a variety of themes, as well as works related to the special exhibition entitled, "The Cosmos in a Tea Bowl: Transmitting a Secret Art across Generations of the Raku Family" being held on the 3rd floor.

In a special feature entitled "Infinite Universe – Beyond the Tea Bowl," two tea bowls – the one created by Chojiro, the first generation head of the Raku family, and the another created by Raku Kichizaemon, the current, 15th generation head of the Raku family – are being displayed face to face against a backdrop of Takatani Shiro’s video installation entitled “Toposcan,” so that our visitors can understand by comparison how their artistic sensitivity and expression have transcended both time and space through the passing on of the secret techniques of their style. At the entrance of this section, especially entitled “Entrance of Universe Loop,” exhibits such as primitive circular stones from Indonesia, and works by Yoshihara Jiro and Raku Masaomi are being displayed in order to demonstrate that the desire of artists to express their refined sensitivity through their respective forms of art and the passions that drive them are universal in all times and places. It is our strongest hope that viewers will be inspired by the comments of Raku Kichizaemon XV and these exhibits, so that they will be able to sense this magnificent world, a veritable universe expanding from the tea bowl.

Closer to the collection gallery entrance, as the second round of the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Dada movement that overthrew the conventional order and concept of art, works by Hannah Höch, a key figure of the Berlin Dada movement who developed the photomontage techniques together with her then boyfriend, Raoul Hausmann, are being featured. Our museum has numerous collections of Dada-related works and materials, beginning with Marcel Duchamp’s readymade work entitled “Fountain.” The incident that triggered our interest in this movement was the donation of two works entitled “Summer in Japan” and “Small Umbrellas,” donated by Hannah Höch herself on the occasion of her solo exhibition which was held at our museum in 1974. This time, we feature the whole gamut of Hanna Höch’s works, ranging from her abstract watercolors in the early period of her artistic career to her photomontage works in her later years, together with Dada-related materials.

Hannah HÖCH, Drawing with Circle, 1922
Hannah HÖCH, Drawing with Circle, 1922

The Nihonga (Japanese-style painting) section focuses on various works featuring birds, in tribute to the fact that the year 2017 is “the Year of the Rooster” according to the Oriental zodiac. As the term “Kachoga (the bird-and-flower genre of Japanese painting)” indicates, “flowers and birds” is a popular theme in Japanese-style paintings. While some paintings do in fact express birds as auspicious symbols, most painters seem to have been fascinated with the delicate, and oftentimes elaborate state of their feathers, as well as the sudden fluctuations in their movements. We hope that the exploration of the perspectives of the Japanese painters through their expressions of birds such as roosters, peacocks and mandarin docks, will instill in the hearts of our visitors a dialogue of sorts between their own passions and the different birds.

IMAO, Keinen, Old Pine and Peacock, 1916
IMAO, Keinen, Old Pine and Peacock, 1916

The section entitled “Cosmos in the Light” features an installation by Miyajima Tatsuo utilizing a display of LEDs entitled “Slash.” Digital counters installed regularly in darkness project red and green numbers from 1 to 9 at random. The combinations of numbers, which will never become zero, is infinite, drawing the viewers who gaze at the flickering numbers in the darkness into an eternity of space and time. A similar kind of allure can be felt from the works by Nomura Hitoshi, Max Ernst and Ansel Adams, which are exhibited together.

The crafts section features two exhibits; “Nordic Ceramics and Textiles” and “Blackwares and Bronze Sculptures by Yagi Kazuo.” The 1960s was a time when craft artists in Northern Europe attracted a lot of attention. Their works, which are noted for both the warmth of folk craft, and simple and constitutive expressions characteristic of industrial products, won many awards worldwide, establishing the reputation of the Nordic design that we see today. Furthermore, Yagi Kazuo, a founding member of "Sodeisha," an avant-garde ceramic art group, always referred to himself as a “chawan-ya (tea bowl craftsman)” throughout his life, creating numerous works which almost transcended the concept of “utility” required of the tea bowl. In particular, his blackwares and bronze sculptures distinguish themselves in that they look almost sculpted. These two exhibits demonstrate a variety of aspects in the concept of craft art.

Helle ALLPASS, Large Dish, c. 1968
Large Dish, c. 1968

The Yoga (Western-style painting) section, entitled “Pioneers of Abstract Paintings in Japan,” features works by 10 painters after the 1930s including Yoshihara Jiro and Murai Masanari who strived to pursue their own unique styles of paintings by alternating between abstract and figurative expressions.

Themes of Exhibition

  • Special Feature: Infinite Universe ― Beyond the Tea Bowl
  • ・Hannah Höch and DADA
  • ・Thousands of Birds ― For the Beginning of the Year of the Rooster
  • ・Cosmos in the Light
  • ・Nordic Ceramics and Textiles
  • ・Blackwares and Bronze Sculptures by YAGI Kazuo
  • ・Pioneers of Abstract Paintings in Japan
  • ・[Outside] Outdoor Sculptures

List of Works

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