Astonishing Akira exhibition heads to Berlin

AKIRA – The Architecture of Neo Tokyo

Coming to Berlin in June is AKIRA – The Architecture of Neo Tokyo, an exhibition presenting the original background artwork of the classic science-fiction anime.

Since its release in 1988, AKIRA was almost solely responsible for the boom in Japanese animation (anime) among an international audience during the early 1990s. For many viewers, AKIRA was the first film that they perceived as anime – as specifically Japanese animation. As such, it had a tremendous influence on a whole generation of film enthusiasts. Much of AKIRA’s cinematic power stems from the opulent representation of the film’s iconic city of Neo Tokyo.

59 original production backgrounds, layout drawings, concept designs and imageboards which had been used to create Neo Tokyo in the animated feature will be on display. Exclusive access to the studio archives of the artists involved in AKIRA’s production has allowed the presentation of artworks that have never been presented in an exhibition before.

It includes works by Toshiharu Mizutani, who served as the production’s art director and his colleagues Katsufumi Hariu, Norihiro Hiraki, Shinji Kimura, Satoshi Kuroda, Hiromasa Ogura, Hiroshi Ōno, Hajime Soga, Tsutomu Uchida and Takashi Watabe.

The Tchoban Foundation, the Museum for Architectural Drawing, sees its mission in promoting the world of architectural drawing to a broader audience. Works of famous architects such as Peter Cook, Thom Mayne, Alvaro Siza or Lebbeus Woods have been shown in profound exhibitions at the museum in Berlin.

In 2019, the exhibition German Film Architecture: 1918–1933 introduced the original concept designs for Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927) and the Nibelungen (1927), Paul Wegener’s Golem How He Came into the World (1920) and The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920) by Robert Wiene. In 2021 the museum presented original designs by Mark Fisher (1947–2013) for famous entertainment shows and rock concerts. AKIRA – The Architecture of Neo Tokyo will continue this line of programming.

The exhibition is curated by Stefan Riekeles, head of Riekeles Gallery, in collaboration with the museum’s director Nadejda Bartels and co-curated by Hiroko Myokam of Eizo Workshop (Japan).

Selected artwork will be available from Riekeles Gallery as high-end solegraph reproductions (limited to 25 copies, numbered and signed by the artists) and poster prints. Pre-orders are accepted now, delivery starts from Tuesday 7th June 2022.

The accompanying book to the exhibition Anime Architecture – Imagined Worlds and Endless Megacities by Stefan Riekeles was published by Thames & Hudson in 2020.

• The Architecture of Neo Tokyo 4th June – 4th September 2022 | Exhibition opening: 3rd June 2022, at 7.00 pm, Tchoban Foundation, Museum for Architectural Drawing, Christinenstraße 18a, 10119 Berlin | Web: | Riekeles Gallery

With thanks to Ben Smith for spotting this

Categories: Animation, Art and Illustration, Comics, downthetubes News, Events, Exhibitions, Other Worlds

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2 replies

  1. I just picked up Otomo’s Poster x Graphic Design book, really slick and well done.

    Do you know if this exhibition is appearing anywhere else in the world? Or how to petition/suggest other locations? Thx!

    • Check the web site for the Riekeles Gallery, link included above – they have a list of where it’s previously been, and presumably, where it will be going!

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