Thursday, April 22, 2010

Outsider Artists of Japan















Recently published by Kadokawa, this book profiles the work of seventeen outsider artists, and is edited by the NO-MA Borderless Art Museum , in Omihachiman, Shiga Prefecture, the book is a dual language edition with translations by John Junkerman. The Borderless Art Museum is operated by Shiga Prefectural Social Welfare Organisation, which exhibits the art of people with disabilities alongside those without disabilities, attempting to cross boundaries on a number of levels. The book is divided into six chapters, the largest profiles the art and artists, there's a dialogue between Seizo Tashima, (award winning children's author and artist) and Yoshiko Hata,(the art director of Borderless Art Museum, also an author), they discuss Tashima's involvement with outsider artists and the things he finds inspiration in for his own art. Hata gives a little introduction about outsider art and artists in Japan, citing the art of Kiyoshi Yamashita as perhaps being seen as the first outsider artist in Japan, and Hata also talks about Jean Dubuffet who first used the term Art Brut, (raw art), which was later translated as the term Outsider Art in English. Another chapter of the book is an around the table discussion with Yoshitomo Nara, Kenjiro Hosaka and Tadasu Takamine, in which they talk about their relationships and experiences with outsider art and artists, exploring their own interpretations of outsider art, they also discuss some of the dilemmas facing outsider art and artists.

I first came across outsider art in my middle teens through the artwork of Nick Blinko, although at the time I hadn't really heard of the term outsider art, some years later when I looked at his art again I came across the term of outsider art being used to describe his art, I've not known a great deal about it, this book is richly informative and fascinating to look through. The art and artists in this book is unique, and in the around table discussion they touch upon the purity in the art. The art included here ranges from works in sculpture,that of Shinichi Sawada, inks, represented by works by Takeshi Yoshizawa, Moriya Kishaba, Takanori Herai and Yuji Tsuji, paintings by Akane Kimura, Takashi Shuji, Marie Suzuki and also living/performance art from Eijiro Miyama. Yoshiko Hata mentions the importance of respecting the copyrights, so I won't attempt to take photographs of the art here, but instead urge you to track down a copy and see for yourself.



Outsider Artists of Japan

Outsider Artists of Japan at Kadokawa  (in Japanese)



3 comments:

Emme said...

This book looks wonderful! Does it include English translations perchance or is it purely Nihongo? Is it mainly pictorial? Am thinking of buying it for a friend...

me. said...

Thanks for stopping by,it's a dual language edition,with a selection of color and black and white reproductions and photographs of the artists at work.Concentrating on artists with connections with the Borderless Art Museum,the interviews with Seizo Tashima and Nara Yoshimoto are both informative and thought provoking.

Emme said...

Thank you very much for your reply. Your blog is tottemo awesome!