Starting Points: Japanese Art of the ‘80s

2018.7.7(Sat.) - 2018.10.21(Sun.)



2018.7.7(Sat.) - 2018.10.21(Sun.)
10:00 - 18:00 (until 20:00 on Fridays and Saturdays)


Galleries / 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
Galleries 1~6, 13


Mondays (Open on July 16, Aug 13, Sep 17, Sep 24, Oct 8), and Jul 17 (Tue.), Sep 18 (Tue.), Sep 25 (Tue.), Oct 9 (Tue.)

Adult: ¥1,000 (¥800)
University: ¥800 (¥600)
Elem/ JH/ HS: ¥400 (¥300)
65 and over: ¥800

[Joint tickets: “Ay Tjoe Christine” (7/7-8/19)]
Adult: ¥1,700 (¥1,400)
University: ¥1,400 (¥1,000)
Elem/ JH/ HS: ¥700 (¥600)
65 and over: ¥1,400

[Joint tickets: “Qiu Zhijie” (9/8-10/21)]
Adult: ¥1,700 (¥1,400)
University: ¥1,400 (¥1,000)
Elem/ JH/ HS: ¥700 (¥600)
65 and over: ¥1,400

*( ) indicate advance ticket and group rates (20 or more).

For More Information:

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
Phone: +81-76-220-2800
Facsimile: +81-76-220-2802

Ticket Sales:

◯ Ticket PIA (Tel +81-(0)570-02-9999
  [Exhibition ticket P code] 769-101
[Joint ticket with “Ay Tjoe Christine”] 769-106
[Joint ticket with “Qiu Zhijie”] 769-105
◯ Lawson Ticket (Tel +81-(0)570-000-777
  [Exhibition ticket L code] 56934
[Joint ticket with “Ay Tjoe Christine”] 56933
[Joint ticket with “Qiu Zhijie”] 56916

Tickets on sales: From Friday June 1 to Sunday October 21

As a repercussion of the conceptual and stoic art of the 1970s, and in response to trends in Europe and the United States, Japan in the ’80s bore witness to movements that urged the reinstatement of the painting and sculpture media. What came to prevail as a result was “New Painting” characterized by vibrantly colorful and dynamic brushstrokes that reflected the flourishing economic circumstances of the times. In the ‘90s, art thrived on the energy of ’80s subcultures such as “otaku,” but as a consequence, ’80s art faded from art historical discourse. In recent years both in Japan and abroad, rapid progress has been made in research on Postwar Japanese art up until the 1970s including “Gutai” and “Mono-ha.” Hence, we now find ourselves compelled to examine Japanese art of the intervening decade— the ’80s. Looking back, over 30 years later, we will see that art forms and concepts fundamental to today’s art blossomed in the ’80s, such as the art installation, viewer participation in the artwork, valuing relationship with society, the concept of alternative space, media art, perspectives of relativizing the institution of "art,” and the sensitivity to find significance in mundanity and lightness. This exhibition reconsiders Japanese art of the 1980s through contemporary perspectives and introduces works that represent “Starting Points.”

Related Projects

Artist Talk: IMAMURA Hajime, NAKAHARA Kodai and MATSUI Chie

Three artists re-creating / re-exhibiting works for this exhibition will hold an artist talk. Museum Director Shima, who intimately experienced the ’80s art scene, will serve as moderator.

Moderator: Shima Atsuhiko
Date/time: Saturday July 7, 2018 14:00-16:00
Venue: Lecture Hall, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
Admission: Free
Capacity: 70 people
Apply: Applications taken from 10am on June 23 (Sat) on our website.

* Changes to the program may occur


  • Tomoaki Ishihara Engagement I 1984
    Takamatsu Art Museum

    ISHIHARA Tomoaki

    Ishihara Tomoaki was born in 1959, Osaka, and completed his postgraduate studies at Kyoto City University of Arts in 1984. From ’83, Ishihara began drawing attention with nude self-portraits printed on irregularly shaped canvases, such as the boat-shaped canvas featured in this exhibition. His figures consciously recall sculpted figures by Michelangelo and Rodin. With hands clasped in prayer or eyes directed to the heavens, they are sensual and dramatic. Meanwhile, the background frottage—a rubbing on paper taken from the floor of his work space—evokes the “labor” theme permeating in his works.

  • Hajime Imamura Installation view at Shinanobashi Gallery (Osaka 1988)
    Artist Collection


    Imamura Hajime was born in 1957, Osaka. He completed his postgraduate studies at Kyoto City University of Arts in 1983. Although Imamura was of the last generation to undergo the influences of minimalism during his student days, from the mid-1980s he began to produce light “sculptures” that seemingly float in mid-air, using unconventional materials such as cardboard, paper clay, wires, and plastic. This exhibition features ’88-12, an installation work displayed at Imamura’s solo show at Shinanobashi Gallery (Osaka) in 1988. Various forms made from everyday materials are suspended from the ceiling, such as a wire bent into the shape of a vortex, a single sheet of orange-colored plastic, and a branch of a persimmon tree. Together, they compose a floating, diaphanous “sculpture” having no front, back, or center.

  • Shinro Ohtake Family Tree 1986-88
    Sezon Museum of Modern Art

    OHTAKE Shinro

    Ohtake Shinro was born in Tokyo in 1955. He graduated from Musashino Art University in 1980 and also studied in London. Ohtake held his first solo exhibition in 1982, after which he became a favorite of the times working in fields as varied as painting, photography, sculpture, collage and music. Shortly after relocation from Tokyo to Uwajima, Ehime in 1988, Ohtake produced Family Tree, a work featured in this exhibition—a chaotic juxtaposition of time and memory using photographs and waste materials. His “Retina” series, also featured this time, collages Polaroid photos with a wide array of art materials, thereby opening up an unknown visual world.

  • Kenjiro Okazaki Akasakamitsuke 1981
    Takamatsu Art Museum

    OKAZAKI Kenjiro

    Okazaki Kenjiro was born in 1955, Tokyo. He left his studies at Tama Art University and finished the B-Semi in 1979. In 1981, At his first solo show “Tatemono-no-Kimochi” (Muramatsu Gallery), held in 1981, Okazaki drew attention with his “Akasakamitsuke” series of works featured in this exhibition. While produced in a light-hearted style using everyday materials, the works nevertheless harbor a rich variety of relationships, such as between their planar surfaces and colors, between the work and the wall, with the viewer, and with other works of the same series. Okazaki’s activities encompass the fields of painting, sculpture, architectural design, earthwork and art criticism. He is the author of Renaissance: The Condition of Experience, and has provided illustrations for the Rerorero-kun picture books.

  • Tadashi Kawamata Destroyed Church Project,Plan(C-2) Takamatsu Art Museum

    KAWAMATA Tadashi

    Kawamata Tadashi was born in 1953, Mikasa, Hokkaido. He completed his studies as a doctoral candidate at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music (now Tokyo University of the Arts) in 1984. From the early ’80s, he exhibited temporary constructions of reclaimed wood, regarded today as forerunners of the “installation.” The Kawamata work in this exhibition, Destroyed Church Project, was shown at Documenta 8 in 1987. Constructed amid the ruins of a church left abandoned after its destruction in WWII, the work functioned to reawaken memories of the place and establish connection with the local community. Kawamata has since won acclaim for works that actively engage their surrounding environment and serve to draw out or catabolize its meaning.

  • Tomoko Sugiyama the midnight oasis 1983
    Artist Collection

    SUGIYAMA Tomoko

    Sugiyama Tomoko was born in 1958, Kobe, and completed her postgraduate studies at Kyoto City University of Art in 1984. In 1981 she began painting with acrylics on cut pieces of cardboard and Styrofoam, which she arranged on walls and floors to create distinctive large-scale paintings whose colorful images vibrantly animate the space. Her 1983 work featured in this exhibition, the midnight oasis, is a striking example. Sugiyama depicts familiar memories and emotions arising within her, through these distinctive forms. Thus, her works all appear to harbor a “diary-like” aspect.

  • Naoki Suwa Waves No.1
    Mie Prefectural Art Museum

    SUWA Naoki

    Suwa Naoki was born in 1954, Yokkaichi, Mie. He enrolled at the B-Semi in 1975, and began presenting his works from the following year. In the 1970s he produced two-dimensional works comprising an accumulation of pointillist dots of color. His ’80s works Waves 1 and Waves 2, featured in this exhibition, marked a change in his artistic direction. Canvases that recall a traditional folding screen receive an undercoat of metallic paint, over which he applies semi-transparent acrylic paint in fluid and vibrant brushstrokes. After producing these works, Suwa began pursuing the possibilities of painting as drawing. He died in Kanagawa in 1990 due to a boating accident.

  • oeko Tatsuno WORK 86-P-13 1986
    Private Collection

    TATSUNO Toeko

    Tatsuno Toeko was born in 1950, Okaya, Nagano. She completed her postgraduate studies at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music (now Tokyo University of the Arts) in 1974. Initially working in a minimalist style using grids and stripes in her 1970s print works, Tatsuno from the late ‘70s depicted curves, rhombuses, circles and cuboids in vivid colors and rich textures using oil paints and acrylics on large-scale support mediums, thus inventing a new kind of pictorial space. Displayed in this exhibition are WORK 80-P-20 (1980), in which Tatsuno approached her canvas by “letting the spirit move me with variations in color and surface texture.” Also featured are WORK 86-P-13 (1986), which features floral patterns, and WORK 89-P-13 (1989) depicting rhombuses.

  • Shigeo Toya Inner Garden II 1990
    Takamatsu Art Museum

    SHIGEO Toya

    Toya Shigeo was born in 1947, Nagano. He completed his postgraduate studies at the Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts and Music in 1973. Toya commenced his activities as an artist in the 1970s, exhibiting the work POMPEII..79 (1974) inspired by the figures, seemingly frozen in time, of bodies buried in ash from Mt. Vesuvius. Displayed in this exhibition is Tower-like (1982) from Toya’s “From ‘Carving’” series, a work that investigates inner volume by carving away a large block of plaster until the rebar buried inside is revealed. A second work, Inner Garden II, was carved using a chainsaw. It belongs to his “Woods” series, in which the theme of “surface” emerges into prominence.

  • Kazumi Nakamura Moraine 1987
    Takamatsu Art Museum

    NAKAMURA Kazumi

    Nakamura Kazumi was born in 1956, Chiba. He completed his postgraduate studies at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music (now Tokyo University of the Arts) in 1984. Nakamura captured attention in the mid-1980s with “Y” shaped paintings incorporating shapes of trees and thereafter developed his “Diagonal Grid” and “C Opened” series. Departing from the American abstract expressionist painting style, he continued to explore means of spatial representation in traditional painting in Japan and other parts of East Asia. This exhibition displays Forest in Humid Climate II (’84) from his “Y” shaped paintings series and Moraine from his “Diagonal Grid” series. The former references the mulberry trees of Nakamura’s childhood in a family of silk farmers. The latter references traditional Japanese picture scrolls.

  • Kodai Nakahara Yumedono 1985
    Artist Collection

    NAKAHARA Kodai

    Nakahara Kodai was born in 1961, Kurashiki, Okayama. He completed his postgraduate studies at Kyoto City University of Arts in 1986. From the 1980s, Nakahara began to create large sculptures and paintings out of various materials such as stone, plaster, clay, metal and resin. Nakahara’s sculptures of the 1980s greatly deviated from existing standards. The works appearing in this exhibition, Yumedono and Gold Bowl (1985), overwhelm viewers with their scale and presence. Since the 1990s Nakahara has continued to question the concept of sculpture through works that employ readymade toys including the likes of Lego and plastic models. Since 1995 he has engaged in work for children affected by the Great Hanshin Earthquake, created ecological records of swallows living on the banks of Kyoto’s Uji River, and pursued other wide-ranging activities.

  • Katsuhiko Hibino PRESENT AIRPLANE 1982
    The Museum of Fine Arts,Gifu

    HIBINO Katsuhiko

    Hibino Katsuhiko was born in 1958, Gifu. He completed his postgraduate studies at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music (now Tokyo University of the Arts) in 1984. While a student at university Hibino received acclaim for his works made using cardboard, receiving the Grand Prize at the 3rd Nippon Graphic Exhibition in 1982, and the Tokyo Art Directors Club prize in the following year. Along with a trilogy of works awarded the Grand Prize in the Nippon Graphic Exhibition, this exhibition features works of the 1980s using cardboard that incline towards Pop and lightheartedness. In recent years, Hibino has come to traverse genres and media. In addition to hosting numerous workshops that give play to regional character, he has supervised the on-going “TURN” project since 2015, which focuses on possibilities for people of different backgrounds.

  • Yukio Fujimoto HARMETIC SCALE(DIAMETER) 1988
    Artist Collection

    FUJIMOTO Yukio

    Yukio Fujimoto was born in 1950, Nagoya, Aichi, and graduated from Osaka University of Arts in 1975. Fujimoto has been staging performances and installations using electronic musical instruments since the 1970s, and from the mid-1980s he began to create sonic objects based on the mechanisms of music boxes. He thereafter went on to create speculative readymade style works that question the meaning of hearing and seeing. Examples are CUBE SUGAR (1986-88) and HERMETIC SCALE (DIAMETER), works presented in this exhibition which “decompose / combine” sound and vision. EARS WITH CHAIR, meanwhile—which invites visitors to sit with their ears next to two pipes, listening to ambient sounds—transforms the ambient noise into strange sounds.

  • Katsura Funakoshi Winter Book 1988
    Artist Collection

    FUNAKOSHI Katsura

    Funakoshi Katsura was born in 1951, Morioka, Iwate. He completed his postgraduate studies at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music (now Tokyo University of the Arts) in 1977. Like a Pile of Unfinished Books (1983), featured in this exhibition, is a relatively early work that yet cohesively illustrates Funakoshi’s fundamental style of working in the 1980s and ‘90s, distinguished by melancholy contemporary human portraits of colored carved wood with inlaid marble eyes. The Day I Go To the Forest (1984) and Winter Book, which also display these features, were both presented at the Venice Biennale in 1988. Since the 2000s Funakoshi has turned to irregular-shaped human statue figures, yet their melancholic expressions remain unchanged from his early period.

  • Chie Matsui A recomposition comprising elements from the work I have placed a box in the broad expanse of the forest (Shinanobashi Gallery,1987)
    Artist Collection

    MATSUI Chie

    Matsui Chie was born in 1960, Osaka. She completed her postgraduate studies at Kyoto City University of Art in 1984. In the early ’80s, working primarily in the Kansai area, Matsui established a means of working with installation, arraying diverse materials to create a metaphorical space that enables viewers to imagine a certain narrative. From the late ’80s she came to create structures like stairs and passageways, thus shifting to works that invite viewers to embrace a specific physical experience. This exhibition documents her 1987 installation for a solo exhibition held at Shinanobashi Gallery, I have placed a box in the broad expanse of the forest, through photographs and video footage, the artist’s own texts, and compositional elements (objects) of the work.

  • Tatsuo Miyajima Performance:NA.AR.(Line) 1984
    Akio Nagasawa Gallery

    MIYAJIMA Tatsuo

    Miyajima Tatsuo was born in 1957, Tokyo. He completed his postgraduate studies at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music (now Tokyo University of the Arts) in 1986. From 1987, Miyajima began producing works in which digital counters blink and display numerical digits using LED (Light Emitting Diode). These works he based on the three fundamental Buddhist concepts of “Keep Changing,” “Connect with Everything,” and “Continue Forever” as well as a passage from Anti-Oedipus, a joint publication by philosopher Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. Monism/Dualism (1989), his work in this exhibition, consists of a series of red and green gadgets alternately arranged with numbers counting from 1 to 99. Also presented, through photographic records, are Miyajima’s performances of the early ‘80s, NA. AR. (Nature and Artificiality), works that preceded his LED works.

  • Yasumasa Morimura Portrait(Van Gogh) 1985
    21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art,Kanazawa

    MORIMURA Yasumasa

    Morimura Yasumasa was born in 1951, Osaka, and graduated from Kyoto City University of Arts. In 1985 he presented Portrait (Van Gogh), a work replacing Van Gogh’s face in the painter’s self-portrait with his own photograph, and thereafter went on to create works employing his unique method of appearing as characters in famous paintings, as well as actresses and historical figures. This exhibition, besides Portrait (Van Gogh), features Portrait (Red 1) and Portrait (Black) (1986) based on sculptures by Rodin, and Portrait (La Source 1, 2, 3) (1986-90) based on Ingres’ painting, The Spring. Morimura’s art, while enticing viewers with its humor, at the same time captured attention by incorporating references to art history and the transcendence of sex and culture.

  • Tadanori Yokoo A Made up story 1982
    Takamatsu Art Museum

    YOKOO Tadanori

    Yokoo Tadanori was born in 1936, Hyogo. He graduated from Hyogo Prefectural Nishiwaki High School, then worked as a graphic designer from the late 1960s to the ‘70s. In the summer of 1980, Yokoo decided to shift from designer to painter after seeing a Picasso retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Shown in this exhibition is A Made up Story, a work presented in Yokoo’s first solo exhibition (1982, Nantenshi Gallery) after his so-called “declaration as a painter.” Inspired by a poster for the film Gilda (released in the US in 1946), it depicts a beaten woman and profile of a man with overlapping self-portraits and birds. Yokoo continues to innovate his art to this day through such methods while freely citing and collaging images and his personal memories.

  • Mika Yoshizawa
    Untitled(Table), Untitled(Tripod), Untitled (Vacuum Cleaner), Untitled(Tea-Cabinet)
    Chiba City Museum of Art


    Yoshizawa Mika was born in 1959, Tokyo, and completed her postgraduate studies at Tama Art University in 1984. She held her first solo exhibition in Komai Gallery in 1982. The series of works including Untitled (Tea-Cabinet) displayed in this exhibition were presented at the “Artists Today” exhibition at the Yokohama Citizen Gallery in 1982. Everyday ready-made appliances including furniture were painted entirely white, and everyday objects such as forks and mosquito coils as well as abstract patterns depicted on them in light drawings using pale colors. By the ’80s, she had begun to paint distinct forms using accumulations of powerful lines. These latter works using industrial ink on hard materials such as polypropylene are also featured.

The exhibition will travel to the following museums:

  • Takamatsu Art Museum Nov 3 (Sat/hol) ~ Dec 16 (Sun), 2018
    Shizuoka City Museum of Art Jan 5 (Sat) ~ Mar 24 (Sun), 2019


Organized by:

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa (Kanazawa Art Promotion and Development Foundation)