Mini-exhibition and seminar on modern Japanese sculpture at Henry Moore Institute, Leeds

Takamura Kōtarō, Hand, 1918. Photo: Sakamoto Photo Research Laboratory.

Takamura Kōtarō, Hand, 1918. Photo: Sakamoto Photo Research Laboratory.

An exhibition of nine works of modern Japanese sculpture will be held at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds as of 28 January 2015. The sculptures, all representations of nature, date from the Taishō and early Shōwa periods (1912-41). There are seven wood carvings and two bronze sculptures. A famous work is Hand (1918) by Takamura Kōtarō (1883-1956), who was a highly influential figure in the Japanese art world around 1910. Since the appointment of the Italian sculptor Vincenzo Ragusa (1841-1927) as teacher at the Technical Art School (Kobu bijutsu gakkō) in Japan in 1876, Japanese sculptors increasingly integrated western-style sculpture practices into their work.

A seminar on 31 January 2015 accompanies the exhibition, with presentations by scholars from Japan and Europe, amongst others Kurokawa Hirotake (Musashino Art University); Fujii Akira (Hirakushi Denchu Art Museum); Clare Pollard (Ashmolean Museum Oxford) and Rosina Buckland (National Museum of Scotland). It is the organizers’ intention to publish the papers of the seminar in a forthcoming issue of the Henry Moore Institute: Essays on Sculpture series.

Mizunoya Tetsuya, Spiny Lobster, 1926.

Mizunoya Tetsuya, Spiny Lobster, 1926.

To-date modern Japanese sculpture of the first half of the twentieth century has not received much scholarly attention outside Japan. Only very few publications and articles exist. A recent general survey article was written by Takashina Shūji and this is included in the collected essays volume Since Meiji, Perspectives on the Japanese Visual Arts 1868-2000 (edited by J. Thomas Rimer, University of Hawaii Press, 2012). The initiative of the Henry Moore Institute is therefore most welcome in order to make early twentieth century Japanese sculpture better known among a European audience.

A Study of Modern Japanese Sculpture. Exhibition from 28 January up to 19 April 2015. Seminar on 31 January 2015.

For more information (also how to register for the seminar), check out the Henry Moore Institute website.