We can make another future: Japanese Art after 1989

QAGOMATwenty-five years after presenting Australia’s first exhibition of Japanese contemporary art, the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) will showcase the exceptional collection it has since developed in a major two-part exhibition at GOMA.

The first stage of the exhibition of more than 100 works by over 40 artists, We can make another future: Japanese Art after 1989 opens last Saturday 6 September and the second in mid-December 2014 – with the entire show running until September 2015.

Highlights of the first instalment of the exhibition include works such as Takahiro Iwasaki’s floating wooden temple Reflection Model (Perfect Bliss) (2010-12), the newly acquired manga-inspired monumental woodblock print Nonhuman Crossing 2013 by Sachiko Kazama and Chim Pom’s video KI-AI 100 2011 of their intervention at the site of the Great Sendai Earthquake of March 2011.

In December, the second stage features visitor favourites such as Kohei Nawa’s glass bauble-encrusted PixCell-Double Deer #4 (2010) Yayoi Kusama’s immersive mirror installation Soul under the moon (2002) and an early incarnation of Takashi Murakami’s iconic Mr DOB character, And then, and then and then and then and then 1994.

QAGOMA Director Chris Saines said the exhibition was central to the Gallery’s focus on contemporary Japan over summer and was drawn entirely from QAGOMA’S extensive collection of contemporary Japanese painting, sculpture, photography, video, new media and installation.

“QAGOMA’s engagement with the contemporary art of Japan has been longstanding; we were the first Australian state gallery to present an exhibition focused on contemporary Japanese art with ‘Japanese Ways, Western Means’ from the Museum of Modern Art in Queensland’s sister state of Saitama in 1989,” said Mr Saines.

“QAGOMA has since staged the Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT) series with its strong representation of contemporary Japan since 1993, exhibitions such as Yayoi Kusama: Look Now, See Forever (2012), and driven ongoing collection development focused on some of the period’s most important artists.”

“The exhibition includes works by leading Japanese artists Takashi Murakami, Yasumasa Morimura, Yoshitomo Nara, Hiroshi Sugimoto and many others. It is the third in the Gallery’s series of country specific projects drawing on the collecting legacy of the APT series, following The China Project (2009) and Unnerved: The New Zealand Project (2010).”

Reuben Keehan, Curator, Contemporary Asian Art, QAGOMA, said “We can make another future’ surveyed the art of the Japanese imperial calendar’s current Heisei era, which offered a sophisticated reflection on social conditions in the country and the anxieties that accompany them.”

‘The Heisei era has seen significant changes and challenges with the collapse of the ‘bubble’ economy, and has been a period of social uncertainty escalated by a series of man-made and natural disasters.”

“In this time ‘Cool Japan’ has also emerged, with widespread international interest in Japan’s cultural production and increased opportunities for the country’s closer engagement with its neighbors in the Asia Pacific, all of which plays into the artwork in this exhibition.”

“We can make another future’ explores a range of ideas including the aesthetic of the digital sublime; responses to consumer culture and new technologies of representation and communication; and ideas of national and sexual identity highlighting the role of the human body in contemporary social life.”

We can make another future: Japanese Art after 1989   
Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Cultural Precinct, Southbank (Brisbane)
Exhibition continues to 20 September 2015
Free entry

For more information, visit: www.qagoma.qld.gov.au for details.

Image: Takahiro Iwasaki / Japan b.1975 / Reflection Model (Perfect Bliss) 2010-12 / Japanese Cypress / The Kenneth and Yasuko Myer Collection of Contemporary Asian Art. Purchased 2013 with funds from Michael Sidney Myer through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery?Gallery of Modern Art