Art Deco emulates the vibrancy of a new generation of urbanites that emerged in the wake of World War One. In Japan, this new section of the population sprung up in Tokyo, the modern, fast-paced metropolis that appeared from the ashes of the war and the Kantō earthquake in 1923. After spending five years collecting pieces from this new epicentre of modern culture in a period of artistic exuberance, the National Gallery of Victoria will exhibit these works in Australia for the first time.
Occurring in parallel to other cultural hubs like Paris, New York and Berlin in the 1920s, Japan’s modernist movement spearheaded its own aesthetic that was independent of – but connected to – its Western cousins. In the NGV’s exclusive exhibition, colour woodblock prints, street posters, magazine design, fashion and interior design items such as glassware, bronzeware and lacquerware spanning the Asian Art Deco period will be on display.
‘This vibrant collection of modernism captures the spirit of a rapidly evolving country and its exuberant youth,’ the NGV’s director, Tony Ellwood, said of the over 190 multi-disciplinary works that make up the exhibit. If you thought contemporary Japan was a hub of technology, social dynamism and colour, now you can see where it all began.
Japanese Modernism is exhibiting now until October. Entry is free.
Friday, February 28th – Sunday, October 4th
National Gallery of Victoria
180 St Kilda Road