Shinro Ohtake and the Post-War Japanese Avant-Garde

Gallery talk

Shinro Ohtake and the Post-War Japanese Avant-Garde

Tuesday 28 October, 7pm
£6/4 conc.

In this lecture, art historian and lecturer Kiyoko Mitsuyama Wdowiak will talk about post-war Japanese contemporary art, placing Shinro Ohtake’s practice in a broader context. She will examine the Gutai movement of the 1950s, the 1960s’ radicalism, the 1980s’ New Painting style and the art produced after 1990, immersed in Japanese pop culture.

The Japanese art world of the 1980s experienced an unprecedented Western interest in the country’s contemporary art, and consequently became part of the international art world. This was a time when Japan’s bubble economy came into being and there were post-modern trends in the arts worldwide. In the early 1980s Shinro Ohtake emerged as the flag-bearer of the ‘New Painting’ style. This international trend soon came to an end, but since then, Ohtake has continued to remain influential, being admired by different generations, the younger in particular, whilst important changes have taken place both nationally and in the art scene. What has made his work so attractive over the years and what is the essence of his art?

Kiyoko Mitsuyama Wdowiak is an independent art historian and lecturer working in both Japan and the UK. She holds BA and MA degrees in Western History from Sophia University in Tokyo and an MPhil degree in Art History from the Chelsea College of Art and Design. She is a former Assistant Curator at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo. She has lectured at various renowned institutions worldwide, including Birkbeck University, SOAS, Sotheby’s Institute, the British Museum, the V&A Museum, the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, the Embassy of Japan, and the Japan Foundation in Toronto. Her book about the Western reception of post-war Japanese art was published in 2009 in Japan and well received.

Image credit: Shinro Ohtake