Past Events

18 April 2018

Artist Talk: System as Medium and System as Motif, Goro Murayama

Systems Art is an approach associated with the dematerialisation of artworks, the tendency towards taking information and process as a medium, and the rise of cybernetic art in contemporary art. For this event Murayama will be joined in conversation by Dr Francis Halsall, art historian and author of the book “Systems of Art” (2008), to discuss how the artist connects the idea of Autopoiesis, self-sustaining systems, to his artistic practice in the hemp painting series, as well as to other bodies of works that explore the systems we live in.

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12 April 2018

Georges Bigot and Japan, 1882-1899: Satirist, Illustrator and Artist Extraordinaire

Incorporating over 250 illustrations, Georges Bigot and Japan is the first comprehensive study in English of French artist and caricaturist, Georges Ferdinand Bigot (1860-1927). Bigot remains well known in Japan where examples of his cartoons still appear in Japanese textbooks, but he is barely known in France, his home country, or in Britain. In this event, Sir Hugh Cortazzi will briefly introduce the volume, and Christian Polak will then give an illustrated talk about Bigot. The volume includes a full introduction of the life, work and artistry of Bigot by Polak, together with an essay by Sir Hugh on Charles Wirgman, publisher of Japan Punch.

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9 April 2018

Abandoning the Kimono

Kimonos were among the most highly sought-after export wares produced for the Western market after Japan’s 200-year-long isolation policy ended in 1868, opening its ports to trade. Surviving kimonos from this period show British and Japanese cultural, political and industrial characteristics through each other’s eyes. In this talk, Elizabeth Kramer and Allie Yamaguchi will demonstrate the cultural relationship between Britain and Japan through dress with extant examples to show how Japanese kimonos became a strong visual trope representing a British understanding of the culture and people of Japan in the Meiji period.

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27 March 2018

Bizen Osafune Japanese Swords

The origins of Japanese swords are not widely known, however the present-day form of Japanese swords originated around a thousand years ago. Nowadays, Japanese swords no longer serve as weapons, rather they are appreciated both in Japan and overseas as items of beauty or symbolic protection. In this talk, former diplomat Kaori Sato will give an overview of “Bizen Osafune Japanese Swords” as well as the Japanese spirit through the art of sword making. She will also discuss the city’s challenge to revitalise the local economy through Japanese sword making.

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22 March 2018

Japanese Security Legislation and Constitutional Reforms after the Elections: Prime Minister Abe’s Legacy?

In 2015, under Prime Minister Abe’s leadership, the Japanese government enacted controversial new security legislation with the aim to facilitate the country’s role as a ‘pro-active contributor’ to international peace and security. This seminar focuses on the political, legal, and strategic implications unfolding from possible constitutional reforms. This is a timely and much needed discussion with clear repercussions on Anglo-Japanese defence relations and on the prospects of Japan’s continued contribution to a stable international system. (The event is organised in cooperation with the King’s Japan Programme.)

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20 March 2018

Private View: Emergence of Order by Goro Murayama

Goro Murayama expresses self-organising processes and patterns through painting and drawings. He is particularly interested in fundamental theories of life systems, namely autopoiesis (self-creation), and the diverse life-like patterns implemented in computer-simulated cellular automata (discrete models studied in science).
Murayama’s works attain a unique expression by introducing these self-organising processes into them. For Murayama, painting is a mandala of emergences that appears when the mind, affected by forms and shapes, reiterates and amasses actions.

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15 March 2018

Challenges of Regional Revitalisation in Japan

Japan’s population is shrinking at an alarming rate, and is expected to decrease from 127 million to 90 million people by 2060. In order to tackle this challenge, in 2014 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe created the Headquarter for Overcoming Population Decline and Vitalising Local Economy, which aims to promote regional revitalisation by implementing new policy and law. In this talk, Ueki Imaoka from Ministry of Finance will give a brief summary of Japanese Regional Revitalisation at the national level, while Takashi Hiranaka from the Embassy of Japan in the UK and Ichiro Oshiro, Mayor of Yawatahama will present several activities at the local level.

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27 February 2018

Hands of Goze: the Tactile Culture of Visually Impaired People in Modern Japan

In this talk, Professor Kojiro Hirose discussed “the hands of Goze” and approach the relevance and the possibility of Goze culture from three different angles: “touching the sound”, “touching the colour”, and “touching the heart”. Referencing Goze folk songs, which Goze created and spread as their own oral traditions, Professor Hirose clarified the role that tactile culture of visually impaired people should play in today’s society.

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23 February 2018

Artist Talk: Setsuko Ono

Alongside her debut solo UK exhibition at Japan House Gallery, Japanese artist Setsuko Ono gave a talk at the foundation on the 23rd February, 6pm. Ono discussed the concepts behind her paintings, sculptures, and her two public sculptures in Japan, Ocean and Dreams. She also described her progression into steel working, which she took up in 1995, and the techniques she uses – making spontaneous sculptures, drawing directly onto the metal without a blueprint or a plan.

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21 February 2018

The Origins of Shouzoku

In this special event, Hisashi Yoshida, Director of a Shinto ceremony company, discussed the origins of ‘Shouzoku’, garments worn by Shinto priests, which was followed by a musical performance by Tokiko Ihara, a Shō flute player, and a display of Shouzoku garments. Outside of Japan, not much is known about this element of Japanese society, and in his talk, Yoshida spread Japanese culture and knowledge.

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19 February 2018

LIV

Liv Grimstad is riding on a suburban train in Sydney, Australia in 1975 when she takes notice of the old man sitting opposite her. Though his features are different, she recognizes that man by the piercing look in his cornflower-blue eyes. Set in Australia in 1975 and Tokyo in 1945, “LIV” is a personal detective story and thrilling historical mystery that tells a universal tale about how the past bears on our present … and future. In this event, author Roger Pulvers spoke about “LIV”, as well as his previous novel, “Star Sand”, and showed parts of the film “Star Sand” that was released in Japan last year.

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15 February 2018

Private View: Setsuko Ono

In 2018 Japanese artist Setsuko Ono will bring her work to London for the first time.
Ono creates steel sculptures characterised by their cut-out shapes, forming open and closed figures and designs. The cut-out silhouettes are bent in an animated way, while the cut-out negatives let sunlight and views of nature through.
The exhibition will include sculpture and mixed media paintings that reflect the artist’s interest in international politics; visitors will be able to use virtual reality goggles to experience Ono’s permanent installations in Japan.

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