Monash University Toggle Search

Rapt! 20 Contemporary Artists from Japan

6 September – 18 November 2006

Nobuya Hoki, Tomoaki Ishihara and Yuki Kimura

Yukihiro Hirayoshi, Curator, National Museum of Art, Osaka; Fumihiko Sumitomo, Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; and Shihoko Iida, Curator, Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery; with Australian curatorial advisory group Philip Brophy, Max Delany, Stuart Koop and Kathryn Hunyor

Rapt! 20 contemporary artists from Japan is an ambitious program of exhibitions, residencies and public events showcasing contemporary Japanese art in Australia. Developed by the Japan Foundation in the year of exchange between Australia and Japan, and based on cross-cultural discussions and research by Japanese and Australian curators, Rapt! explores new channels of communication and the dynamic shifts between the ‘self’ and ‘world’ found in modern societies.

MUMA is pleased to present the work of Nobuya Hoki, Tomoaki Ishihara and Yuki Kimura. The paintings of Nobuya Hoki are influenced by traditional style Japanese painting, manga and anime (and executed with his ‘secret pen’). Hoki’s linear paintings contain a rich diversity of imagery and motifs, including landscape, animals and portraiture. The artist describes his painting technique as ‘adding multiple layers to a single layer’, where distances are exaggerated and scales distorted.

The sculptures, photographs and paintings of Tomoaki Isihara explore the theme of seeing and being seen. In his self-portraits Ishihara uses an electron microscope to image minute samples of his body and enlarges them to wall size photographs. In this disruption of scale, the self portraits become beautiful abstract images representing a universal state of being. His paintings, using Braille and gold leaf, are flooded with darkness or light, and Ishihara's glass sculptures are suspended in mid-air, where a vacuum creates a blind spot in our view of the world/space. Isihara calls into question art’s reliance on the visual, what he calls the ‘blind spot of art’. Yuki Kimura is a Kyoto-based artist, however in preparation for this exhibition, she has undertaken a residency at the Monash University Faculty of Art & Design. Working primarily with video, sculpture and photographic installations, Kimura investigates the transformative meanings of images and objects. In juxtaposing new and found photographic images, Kimura explores the abstract qualities of colour and form, whilst allowing new narratives to emerge.

Rapt! is one of the largest surveys of contemporary Japanese art undertaken in Australia and presents a significant rethinking of the character of contemporary Japanese art and culture. This project is curated by Yukihiro Hirayoshi, (Curator, the National Museum of Art, Osaka) Fumihiko Sumitomo, (Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo) and Shihoko Iida, (Curator, Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery), with an Australian curatorial advisory group including Philip Brophy, Max Delany, Stuart Koop and Kathryn Hunyor.

Rather than conform to traditional stereotypes of Japan (as either hi tech or zen), Rapt! highlights new modes of communication which have developed over the past decade in Japan to enable direct connections between individuals and the rest of the world. The work of various contemporary artists suggests a new Japanese identity is emerging based on the renegotiation of traditional practices and influences.

Rapt! is a collaborative project undertaken across Australia, involving about 16 organisations in presenting different facets of a single project. In addition to MUMA’s exhibition, other venues include the Centre for Contemporary Photography (CCP); Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces; Kings ARI; RMIT Project Space; Spacement; West Space; Seventh Gallery; and Object Gallery (Sydney).

Developed by the Japan Foundation

Media Kit:
Rapt! 20 Contemporary Artists from Japan

Exhibition Catalogue:
Rapt! 20 Contemporary Artists from Japan

Image: Rapt! 20 Contemporary Artists from Japan, installation view: Switchback Gallery, Switchback Gallery, Gippsland Centre for Art and Design, 2006