Art in Japan – The Kansai Collections, National Museum of Art Osaka

Our regular arts writer Philomena Epps decided to check out some key art shows whilst on a  trip to Japan. Here’s the third of her reports on the The Kansai Collections at the The National Museum of Art, Osaka.

The Kansai Collections show presents Western art from the 20th and 21st century from the collections of six public museums located in the Kansai region of Japan. Alongside work from two art institutions in Osaka, pieces have also been loaned from Kyoto, Shiga, Wakayama and Hyogo.

The exhibition presents a comprehensive and selective overview of European and American modern art. Key works are assembled thoughtfully and cover a selection of popular movements, such as Abstract Expressionism, Surrealism, Pop Art, Dada, Futurism et al. Works by Cezanne, Picasso and Matisse open the exhibition, and the journey through art history continues up to the present day with contemporary work by artists such as Gerhard Richter and Luc Tuymans. Among the works on display are sculptures by Rodin and Giacometti, a room of Cornell’s exquisite box assemblages, and contemporary photography by Cindy Sherman and Thomas Struth.

The Kansai Collections are a good example of the excellent permanent collections held by other national galleries in Japan. I also visited the Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto and the Ohara Museum of Art in Kurashiki. Despite being naturally interested in their collection of Western art, I was fascinated by the relationship of these pieces to Japanese works or other Eastern artists who have been widely under-represented and undermined by Western publishing and art historical narratives.

Kansai Collections is showing at The National Museum of Art Osaka. For more information click here

words Philomena Epps

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