“Tokyo: Art and Photography” exhibition opens at Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum

An exhibition titled Tokyo: Art and Photography has just opened at Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum, surveying the city’s in many forms of art.

Uguisudani-zu by Aida Makoto, 1990 © Aida Makoto. Private Collection. Courtesy Mizuma Art Gallery

Described as “a thrilling encounter with one of the world’s great art capitals” by The Guardian, the exhibition runs until 23rd January 3rd 2022.

A celebration of one of the world’s most creative, dynamic and thrilling cities, Tokyo: Art and Photography offers the opportunity to explore Japan’s capital city through the vibrant arts it has generated over 400 years.

Good Evening Sumida River by Sugiyama Mototsugu, 1993

It features a wide variety of artworks created in a metropolis that has constantly reinvented itself. Highlights include historic folding screens and iconic woodblock prints, video works, pop art, and contemporary photographs by Moriyama Daido and Ninagawa Mika.

With new commissions by contemporary artists, loans from Japan and treasures from the Ashmolean’s own collections, the show provides a fascinating insight into the development of Tokyo into one of the world’s most important cultural hotspots.

The exhibition is accompanied by an eponymous book, co-edited by Japanese art specialists and curators Lena Fritsch and Clare Pollard from Oxford University, featuring 28 texts by international experts of Japanese culture, as well as original statements by influential artists.

Photo: Paul Gravett

Beautifully illustrated and richly detailed, this publication looks at a city which has undergone constant destruction and renewal over its 400-year history and tells the stories of the people who have made Tokyo so famous with their boundless drive for the new and innovative – from samurai to avantgarde artists today.

Artistic highlights include Kano school paintings, the iconic woodblock prints of Hiroshige, Tokyo Pop Art Posters, the photography of Moriyama Daido and Ninagawa Mika, manga, film and contemporary art.

Comics author Paul Gravett was asked to contribute one of the guest essays, which he titled ‘Manga-Tropolis: A City of Comics’, and the book looks magnificent, and costs just £25.

If you’re in Oxford, just the few examples of what’s featured on the official exhibition page should be more than enough to convince you to check this out.

Tokyo: Art and Photography Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, runs until 23rd January 3rd 2022. Full details and booking information here | Buy the catalogue here

With thanks to Paul Gravett for the heads up, and permission to include his photographs

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



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