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


Collection Gallery

2nd Collection Gallery Exhibition 2024–2025

2024.05.30 thu. - 08.25 sun.

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Selected Works of Western Modern Art Kurt SCHWITTERS, Untitled (Red on Red), 1928-1930

The artistic philosophy and movement known as Dada emerged in Europe and the U.S. in the midst of World War I (1914-1918). Printed matter such as fliers and bulletins, distinguished by their bold typography and layouts, played a key role in the group’s activities as a medium for rejecting established notions and order, celebrating nonsense, and transmitting provocative ideas.

Born in Hanover, Germany, Kurt Schwitters used the term “Merz” to refer to his art, which encompassed a wide range of activities including painting, architecture, poetry, theatre, and design. Schwitters’ view that artists create by selecting, arranging, and modifying materials is clearly conveyed by his collages and assemblages made up of clippings from magazines and newspapers, and scraps from everyday items. He also published a magazine called Merz, which was important both in terms of its typography and its design.

Hannah Höch, a participant in Berlin Dada, used photomontage and collage techniques to create works with political and social criticism and satire. In Bride, fashioned out of newspaper clippings and lace paper, Höch’s design seems to oppose stereotypes of brides that were prevalent in society and the mass media at the time.

Murayama Tomoyoshi, who studied in Berlin from 1922 to 1923, was inspired by new European art movements such as Futurism, Dada, and Constructivism to form the avant-garde group MAVO. In addition to original prints and drawings, the group’s eponymous magazine came with pieces of hair affixed to it, conveying the artists’ zeal for creating something new.

The Decorative Works of FUKUDA Heihachiro *11th June (Tue.) - FUKUDA Heihachiro, Season of Azalea, c.1931

This year a retrospective of work by Fukuda Heihachiro (1892-1974) is being held in Osaka and Oita to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the artist’s death. The exhibition includes some of Fukuda’s most notable works from the collection of the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto.

Fukuda was born in Oita, and enrolled in the Kyoto City Technical School of Art in 1911. After graduation, he enrolled in the Kyoto City Technical School of Painting, where he majored in Japanese-style painting. During the time that Fukuda attended the Kyoto City Technical School of Art, the faculty included a host of talented art-world figures, such as Kikuchi Hobun, Taniguchi Kokyo, Takeuchi Seiho, and Yamamoto Shunkyo. Moreover, in 1910, the year Fukuda entered the school, Tsuchida Bakusen and Ono Chikkyo, who were among the founders of the Kokuga Sosaku Kyokai (Association for the Creation of National Painting), were one year ahead of him in a different course at the Kyoto City Technical School of Painting. While absorbing the influence of these painters, Fukuda was pursuing his goal of becoming a painter.

Although Fukuda was an academically outstanding honor student, his classmate Okamoto Shinso advised him to observe his subjects more carefully and make his own style of painting. Nakai Sotaro, a teacher of art theory at the Kyoto City Technical School of Painting, also conveyed the necessity for him to shed the influence of senior painters and engage directly with nature. These comments prompted Fukuda to apply himself to life sketching, enabling him to develop a unique world of painting without an over-reliance on the techniques of his predecessors. When sketching, Fukuda concentrated primarily on color. His paintings are not based on the lines of his meticulous sketches but on the colors of his subjects. While this was in part due to modeling his paintings on the Rimpa school, Fukuda’s decoratively tinged works are rooted in simple compositions in which he used planes of color to depict his subjects. Fukuda himself said, “In a word, my paintings might best be described as decorative paintings based on sketching.” In this section, we hope you will enjoy savoring the decorative expressions of Fukuda Heihachiro’s works.

Special Feature: YOKOO Tadanori – Repetition and Stars *11th June (Tue.) - YOKOO Tadanori, A La Maison De M.Civeçawa(Garumera Shokai), 1965

In this exhibit, we focus on the artist Yokoo Tadanori (b. 1936), a close friend of Kuramata Shiro’s, whose work is also included in the exhibition Tectonic Shifts in Printing, Printmaking and Graphic Design 1957-1979.

Yokoo was born and raised in what is today Nishiwaki, Hyogo Prefecture. In 1960, at the age of 24, he moved to Tokyo, where his talent as a designer and illustrator blossomed. At the time, rational and well-proportioned modern design was enjoying a golden age. Yokoo’s designs, distinguished by a lively mixture of Japanese and Western styles and erotic elements, attracted the attention of creators such as the Butoh dancer Hijikata Tatsumi, the playwright and leader of the Situation Theater Kara Juro, the dramatist Terayama Shuji, known for the work Throw Away Your Books, Rally in the Streets, and the novelist Mishima Yukio. Yokoo referred to his relationship with these figures, the leading lights of the underground, as “the world’s strongest cultural magnetic field.”

Yokoo’s brilliant posters of the 1960s, which grew out of his friendships with Hijikata and others, include a sun motif with its rays extending radially that he came to use repeatedly in his creative activities. Repetition is one of the features that underlies Yokoo’s works. In addition to suns, other recurring motifs, such as waterfalls and “pink girls,” are scattered throughout this gallery.

Another enjoyable feature of Yokoo’s works is the frequent appearance of countess stars – actors, singers, and artists from Japan and elsewhere who were his idols. For example, in the 1970s, Yokoo began making frequent trips to India and immersing himself in explorations of the spiritual realm, giving rise to highly concentrated works that transformed his experiences. This was inspired by the Beatles’ admiration of India.

In this introduction to Yokoo’s energy-packed works, we focus on the artist’s use of repetition, a technique based on copying his own pictures, and the stars who appear in his pieces. Please enjoy the dazzling world of Yokoo Tadanori.

Reflections on the Postmodern Horizon UMEDA Masanori, Tawaraya, 1981-1985

The term “postmodernism” generally refers to an excessive mode of decoration and color that became prevalent in the 1980s in the fields of architecture and design. However, in his 1977 book The Language of Post-Modern Architecture, often credited with defining the trend, Charles Jencks suggests that while many designers were critical of modern functionalism and placed great value on symbolism and decoration, the issue of uniformity in modernism remained a pressing concern for them.

In 1981, the Memphis Group, chiefly founded by Ettore Sottsass (1917-2007), emerged as a vital force in postmodernism. Numerous designers, both from Italy and elsewhere, were associated with the group, including the Japanese creators Kuramata Shiro, Isozaki Arata, and Umeda Masanori. Umeda’s Tawaraya, included in the first Memphis exhibition, is a four-and-a-half tatami mat ring conceived as a venue for “intellectual combat,” inspired by the Italian fondness for debate.

Before being marketed, Getsuen, another work by Umeda, appeared in Kagu: Tokyo Designers’ Week ’88 alongside Kuramata’s Miss Blanche. Meanwhile, Alessandro Mendini, who like Sottsass played a leading role in design of the era, served as a coordinator for the Alessi Project “Program-6.” He asked eleven architects from around the world to design works for Tea & Coffee Piazza in a limited edition of 99 sets.

In conjunction with The Work of Shiro Kuramata, we present this section consisting primarily of pieces that were shown in the 1985 exhibition Contemporary Landscape from the Horizon of Postmodern Design as well as works from private collections. An essay in the exhibition catalogue ended with the following conclusion:

The postmodern trend in architecture and design might be summed up as a confirmation of the banal fact that “people are different from one another and things can be adapted to their individual differences.” Yet, this banality is highly significant. After all, it has taken approximately 80 years of the 20th century for us to arrive at this simple fact. In the future, as we look back at the 20th century, our ability to ask whether our era should be seen as an age defined by a uniform modern style or one defined by a free style will be regarded as one of the achievements of postmodernism.

Glass: A Transparent Fluid Joël LINARD, Flower in a Water Garden Vase, 1979

Glass, which can be described as a fluid coagulated into solid form, has been produced throughout the world since time immemorial, including in ancient Rome and Egypt, and has always enchanted people with its transparency and brilliant hues. Today, while glass is predominantly produced in industrial settings, the Studio Glass Movement that emerged in the 1950s in Czechoslovakia and the US continues to thrive more than ever. This movement, known for championing freedom and creativity, was inspired by values similar to those of the Arts and Crafts Movement, such as the revival of handcrafting, respect for individuality, and opposition to the alienation that characterizes highly industrialized societies. Since then, the range of artistic expression in glass has dramatically expanded over a relatively short period.

Like other crafts, glass work is primarily characterized by its manifestation of the material’s inherent properties. In addition to transparency and brilliance, these include freedom to select color and ornamentation at will, as well as great diversity of shaping and decorating techniques such as cutting, polishing, and engraving. Artists use these qualities to explore and represent myriad aspects of contemporary society through the medium of glass.

The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto held glass-themed exhibitions in 1980 and 1981. The first was titled Contemporary Glass: Europe & Japan, and the second Contemporary Glass: Australia, Canada, U.S.A. & Japan. The museum’s collection of glass works primarily consists of pieces from these exhibitions, but it has also been steadily enriched over the years through further crafts exhibitions and donations of works. From these expanded holdings, we have carefully selected 20 works that serve as a fascinating cross-section of contemporary glass art.

SHIMOTORI Yukihiko: The 140th Anniversary of the Artist's Birth SHIMOTORI Yukihiko, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, 1909

This year marks the 140th anniversary of the birth of Shimotori Yukihiko (1884-1982), a Western-style painter who was active in Kyoto.

While known for his career in Kyoto, Shimotori was actually born in Tokyo. In junior high school, he was captivated by the art textbooks Chugaku etehon (Junior High School Drawing Sample Book) and Saiga shoho (Introduction to Color Painting), by the famed painter Asai Chu. When Asai became a professor at Kyoto College of Technology in 1902, Shimotori moved to Kyoto upon graduating from junior high school and enrolled at the college. He assisted Asai in producing the original painting for Warrior Hunting, a mural for the Imperial Palace for the Crown Prince (Togu Gosho). In 1906, Shimotori moved to the US and taught watercolor at the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts. Starting in 1909, he worked at the American Museum of Natural History as a technician specializing in life drawing and coloration of marine animal specimen models. During this period, he made repeated visits to the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts and to the coast of Maine, where he painted landscapes. He returned to Japan in 1920 and became an instructor at Kyoto College of Technology, then a professor the following year. From 1922 to October 1923, he studied in France with the sponsorship of the Ministry of Education, attending the Académie de la Grande Chaumière and then studying under Charles Guérin at Académie Colarossi. In 1923, he showed Before the Cross and Russian Woman at the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts exhibition. After returning to Japan, as a professor at Kyoto College of Technology, Shimotori taught painting, history of art and crafts, and advertising design while frequently showing works in the Teiten (Imperial Art Exhibition) and the Art Exhibition sponsored by the city of Kyoto. After World War II, he continued to teach at Kyoto Institute of Technology and Kyoto University of Liberal Arts. He served as chairman of the Kansai Bijutsuin art institute for six years, beginning in 1970, and continued to play a leading role in Western-style painting, design, and art education in Kyoto until his death at the age of 98.

This exhibition traces the arc of Shimotori Yukihiko’s long career through works donated to the museum last year by family members.

Exhibition Period 2024.5.30 thu. - 8.25 sun.
*Partial closure of the exhibition rooms will take place from May 30, 2024 (Thu) to June 9, 2024 (Sun) due to construction in the exhibition rooms. Click here for details.

Themes of Exhibition Selected Works of Western Modern Art
The Decorative Works of FUKUDA Heihachiro *11th June (Tue.) -
Special Feature: YOKOO Tadanori – Repetition and Stars *11th June (Tue.) -
Reflections on the Postmodern Horizon
Glass: A Transparent Fluid
SHIMOTORI Yukihiko: The 140th Anniversary of the Artist's Birth
[Outside] Outdoor Sculptures

List of Works 2nd Collection Gallery Exhibition 2024-2025(151 works in all)(PDF)

Free Audio Guide App How to use Free Audio Guide (PDF)

Hours 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
*Fridays: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
*Admission until 30 min before closing.

Admission Adult: 430 yen (220 yen)
University students: 130 yen (70 yen)
High school students or younger,seniors (65 and over): Free
*Figures in parentheses are for groups of 20 or more.

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*This ticket is only available at Collection Gallery.

Collection Gallery Free Admission Days May 30 to Jun.9, Aug.24, 2024

List of Works 2nd Collection Gallery Exhibition 2024-2025(151 works in all)(PDF)

Free Audio Guide App How to use Free Audio Guide (PDF)

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