Other Events

What's on: September - November 2014

A selective round up of exhibitions and events

Compiled by Tina Burge


Stars of the Tokyo Stage - Natori Shunsen’s kabuki actor prints
19 July – 12 October 2014
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
The exhibition’s kabuki actor prints reveals the dynamic world of Japan’s kabuki theatre through actor portraits created by artist Natori Shunsen (1886–1960) in the 1920s and 30s. An inspiration to artists for centuries, kabuki draws on Japan’s rich folklore, literature and history, as well as violent, romantic and scandalous events, to present lavish and dramatic performances. Kabuki actors were extremely popular in Japan and were renowned for their flamboyant portrayals, extraordinary characters and colourful personal lives. Shunsen’s prints provide a fascinating glimpse into this glamorous world, while demonstrating consummate mastery of traditional Japanese printmaking techniques.

Exclusively from the NGA collection, Stars of the Tokyo Stage explores kabuki and modern Japanese printmaking in the context of the great change taking place in Tokyo in the 20th century. A selection of spectacular kabuki robes further illustrates the extravagance of the theatrical form.
Talks in conjunction with the exhibition include:

  • Starstruck by Melanie Eastburn, Curator,
  • Asian Art, who will discuss the work of Zoe Kincaid, a Canadian journalist and kabuki aficionado living in Tokyo in the 1920s on 4 September at 12.45 pm
  • Turning Japanese: the art of collecting Japanese prints by Mark Henshaw, author of the recently published novel The snow kimono, and former Curator, International Prints at the National Gallery of Australia There will also be films associated with the exhibition:
  • The actor’s revenge (DVD, 1963, M, 113 mins) on 7 September 2.00 pm
  • Kabuki documentaries, which take the viewer backstage, on 28 September at 2.00pm.

For further information go to: www.nga.gov.au


Elegant Pursuits – Art of the East Asian Scholar
Until 7 December 2014
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
Presents the cultivated environment of the scholar-artist filled with the implements for his aesthetic, moral and spiritual cultivation such as flowing calligraphy, austere ceramics used for tea, lacquerware and sculpture. Essential to the scholar’s practice were the Four Treasures (brush, ink, inkstone and paper) which were believed to reveal his true character. The dynamic qualities of the brush and ink pervade the display on screens and hanging scrolls.
For further information go to: www.artgallery.sa.gov.au


Haze - Tully Arnot, Sarah Contos, Jensen Tjhung
22 August - 25 October 2014
Gallery 4a, Sydney
Haze is an exhibition of new work by Australian artists Tully Arnot, Sarah Contos and Jensen Tjhung. Together, these three artists undertook 4A’s inaugual Beijing Studio Program at the studios of Chinese-Australian artist Shen Shaomin in Huairou on the northern outskirts of Beijing in September 2013. They were transfixed by the grey mist that was a constant element within their surroundings and their artworks reflect their responses to their environment.
For further information go to: www.4a.com.au

A Fine Possession: Jewellery And Identity
23 September 2014 – September 2015
The Powerhouse Museum, Sydney
The exhibition showcases a spectacular selection of over 700 pieces of jewellery and body adornments from Australia, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Pacific. On view will be a large selection from the Museum’s significant collection of Asian jewellery. See pp16 – 17 in this issue for a preview of the exhibition.

Chinese Arts Weekend
13 - 14 September 2014
Eryldene Historic House and Garden
17 McIntosh Street, Gordon, Sydney
Including performances and a talk by Jackie Menzies. Details on www.eryldene.org.au.


A program of exhibitions celebrating contemporary Japanese art and fashion will be held at the Queensland Art Gallery (QAG) and Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) over 2014-2015.

Hanga: Modern Japanese Prints
16 August 2014 – 8 March 2015
QAG, Brisbane
The exhibition will explore the texture, colour and innovation of Japanese printmaking from the 1960s to the present. It showcases printmakers working in a variety of techniques and styles, including innovators such as Kiyoshi Saito, as well as artists known in broader contemporary art contexts such as Toko Shinoda, Tadanori Yokoo and Masami Teraoka.
Over sixty works from the Gallery’s collection of Japanese prints created after 1950 will be displayed. This highlights the ongoing importance of the printmaking tradition in Japan, where artists continue to draw from centuries-old techniques and imagery, while innovating and experimenting with new forms and technologies.

We can make another future
6 September 2014 – 21 September 2015
GOMA, Brisbane
The exhibition will include Japanese contemporary works from the QAG & GOMA’s permanent collection including Kohei Nawa’s glass bauble-encrusted PixCell-Double Deer#4 (2010) and Yayoi Kusama’s immersive, mirrored installation Soul under the moon (2002).

Future Beauty – 30 Years of Japanese Fashion
1 November 2014 – 15 February 2015
GOMA, Brisbane
Future Beauty explores the tremendous innovation of Japanese fashion designers from the early 1980s to the present. With nearly 100 garments featured in the exhibition, ranging from the classic and elegant to outrageous, this will be a fascinating experience and rare opportunity to view these unique creations first hand. Japanese fashion made an enormous impact on world fashion in the late 20th century with designers such as Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons and Yohji Yamamoto. Their works will be shown alongside examples by the techno-couturier Junya Watanabe, a protégé of Kawakubo, together with the pioneer of the Ura-Harajuku movement Jun Takahashi, and the new generation of radical designers including Tao Kurihara, Hiroaki Ohya, Matohu, Akira Naka, Hatra and mintdesigns. Curated by Japanese fashion historian Akiko Fukai, Director of the Kyoto Costume Institute in Japan, the exhibition explores the unique sensibility of Japanese design, and its sense of beauty embodied in clothing. Check the gallery’s website for details about discussions, talks and tours with international and local guest speakers, designers and curators, including the opening weekend’s events on 1-2 November.
For further information go to: www.qagoma.qld.gov.au


Bushido – Way of the Samurai
4 July – 4 November 2014
National Gallery of Victoria – International
\The exhibition explores the fascinating world of the samurai who were the warriors, rulers and aristocratic elite of Japanese society for more than 800 years from the 12th century through to the end of the Edo period in 1868. Bushido: Way of the Samurai focuses on samurai as both warriors and men of refined culture and showcases the attire of the samurai in the form of armour, helmets, swords and equestrian equipment. It displays the cultural pursuits of samurai in the form of Noh costumes, calligraphic scrolls, lacquer objects and tea utensils and re-lives the legacy of bushido through representations of samurai in large screen paintings, dramatic woodblock prints and noble studio photographs.
For further information go to: www.ngv.vic.gov.au



Ming – the golden empire
National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh
27 June – 19 October 2014
The exhibition includes works from the Nanjing Museum, including ‘Chinese National Treasures’, and introduces key aspects of the Ming dynasty, focussing on  the remarkable cultural, technological and economic achievements of the period.
For further information: www.nms.ac.uk

Ming – 50 years that changed China
18 September 2014– 5 January 2015
British Museum, London Jessica Harrison-Hall, the British Museum’s curator of Chinese ceramics, and Craig Clunas, professor of the history of art at the University of Oxford, have jointly curated this year’s blockbuster exhibition at the British Museum. Ming – 50 Years that Changed China focuses on the 50 years from 1400 to 1450 that the curators maintain, changed China irrecoverably. It was not only a period when the Ming dynasty established Beijing as the capital and built the Forbidden City, but also a period when China was thoroughly connected with the outside world enabling Chinese artists to absorb and reinterpret outside influences. The exhibition will feature a range of spectacular objects – including porcelain, gold, jewellery, furniture, paintings, sculptures and textiles – from museums across China and the rest of the world. Many of the pieces have only been recently discovered and have never been seen outside China.
For further information go to: www.britishmuseum.org


Assyria to Iberia at the Dawn of the Classical Age
22 September 2014 – 4 January 2015
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
At its height in the 8th to 7th centuries BCE the Assyrian Empire was the largest empire the world had yet seen, reaching from Assyria (present-day northern Iraq) to the Mediterranean. The exhibition will comprise of over 260 works of art on loan from collections in Western Europe, the Caucasus, the Middle East, North Africa, and the United States. The pieces will reflect the deep roots of interaction between the Assyrians and their trading partners along the shores of the Mediterranean.
For further information: www.metmuseum.org


Splendours of the Han: Rise of the Celestial Empire
22 October 2014 – March 2015
Musee Guimet, Paris
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between France and China, this exhibition showcases the artistic legacy of the Han, including painting, bronzes, ceramics and lacquer ware, drawn from major Chinese museum collections and recent archaeological finds.

Detail of man’s ikat sarong, Trengganu, Malaysia c.1900.

Woman’s embroidered dress, Afghanistan 1965-75

Ceremonial textile, Toraja people, Celebes (Indonesia) c.1900-1920

 Palempore, Made for Export Market, India C. 1800

Collection Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

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