Art in Japan – All You Need is Love: from Chagall to Kusama and Hatsune Miku

Our regular arts writer Philomena Epps decided to check out some key art shows whilst on a  trip to Japan. Here’s the first of her reports on the All You Need is Love: from Chagall to Kusama and Hatsune Miku exhibition at the Mori Art Museum.

All You Need is Love: from Chagall to Kusama and Hatsune Miku celebrates the Mori Art Museum’s 10th anniversary. The Mori Museum is on the 53rd floor of the Mori Tower in Roppongi Hills, Tokyo. The exhibition shows a myriad of work from international artists. The eclectic mix of scale, media and generation makes it a particularly varied and engaging show.

The curators consistently play with juxtaposition, particularly of classical and popular culture. I watched David Shrigley’s animation for Blur’s Good Song music video before entering a room full of homoerotic ‘Wakashu’ pornographic drawings from the classical 16th century Edo period. In the same vein, a room of work by Brancusi and Chagall follows from the kinetic piece Metro Orchestra – an incredible piece of technology which records your ‘words of love’ spoken into a microphone and then performs an inspired visual and audio lullaby of sounds from your recording.

Familiar ‘love’ themed works are on show, such as Rodin’s The Kiss and Tracey Emin’s neon slogans, but the subversions of these canonical works are of more interest. A sculpture by the Korean artist, Gimhongsok, from his series of crushed stainless steel forms in the style of Robert Indiana’s original 1960’s pieces opens the exhibit. Other rooms present and explore the relationship and contrasts between Western and Eastern photography over the recent decades, such as the work of Nan Goldin, Sophie Calle, Asada Masahi, Araki Nobuyoshi and Richard Billingham.

Installation work, particularly Yayoi Kusama’s bizarre and beautiful Love is Calling which was custom made for the exhibition, is a testament to the immersive and other-worldliness of the exhibition.

words Philomena Epps


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