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Japanese Connections: The Birth of Modern Décor
6 September 2018AED 60
In 1853, Japan’s trade opened to the West for the first time in more than 200 years, giving rise to a deep fascination with Far Eastern aesthetics that lasted in Europe for fifty years. In particular, woodblock prints and paintings in the iconic ukiyo-e style influenced many of Europe’s painters. This exhibition – curated by Isabelle Cahn, General Curator of Paintings at the Musée d’Orsay, has put together a display of 19th and 20th century paintings, prints and folding screens that highlight the artistic and cultural dialogue between Japan and France, and the important influence of the colourful ukiyo-e aesthetics on modern decorative arts.
Specifically, the exhibition highlights the cross-cultural inspiration between the Ukiyo-e artists and the painters of the Nabis group of post-Impressionist avant-garde artists. It presents 41 artworks and 15 documents by 12 artists, including French artists Paul Sérusier, Pierre Bonnard, Maurice Denis, Ker-Xavier Roussel, and Édouard Vuillard (Les Nabis); Marguerite Sérusier and Odilon Redon; and five Japanese ukiyo-e masters – Katsushika Hokusai, Hara Zaimei, Utagawa Hiroshige, Kano Tanshin and Toshusai Sharaku.
“Japanese Connections traces the fundamental contribution of Japanese aesthetics to the development of decorative principles of modern painting in France at the end of the 19th century,” says Cahn. The exhibition will be divided into four sections that illustrate the influence of central ukiyo-e aesthetic principles, including representing the world in two-dimensions without using illusions of perspective; narrative compositions that show the passing of time; innovative use of folding panels for storytelling; and symbolic refinement exploring intellectual, dreamlike and spiritual ideas.
The works have been assembled from the collections of Louvre Abu Dhabi, Musée d’Orsay, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, and Musée National des Arts Asiatiques – Guimet. There will also be a public programme celebrating the arts and culture of Japan, including curatorial talks and a Big in Japan festival on October 26 and 27 with DJs, spoken word poetry, screenings of Studio Ghibli anime and Japanese cooking classes.
The Manga Lab, a creative and experimental space for teenagers and young adults will offer a variety of entertaining experiences to explore contemporary Japanese culture, including virtual reality, retro arcade gaming, a graffiti and expression wall, a chill-out reading area, and a series of masterclasses and workshops about Manga and graphic art. Located in Louvre Abu Dhabi’s forum.
Japanese Connections runs to 24 November.