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This carefully crafted publication comprises 46 biographies of Japanese artists. They are not trained to be

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artists and have a mental illness or a mental handicap. Outsider Art is exceptionally expressive, these special artists communicate mainly via their artworks. Their art functions as an indispensable form of expression. The combination of short, but personally tinted biographies, combined with several examples of each artist’s work, let the creators

behind the art go out. Literally and figuratively: since in Japan people with these conditions are often in institutions and kept outside the ‘normal’ society. This book therefor introduces not just remarkable artworks, but more importantly these wonderful artists, their background, their daily routine and the environment where their works are made.

OUTSIDER ART FROM JAPAN

Until recently Japanese Outsider Art was a well kept secret. Made by people with mental illness or mental handicaps, these very special and quality pieces of art show a whole new side to Japan.

ド ル ハ ウ ス OUTSIDER ART FROM

JAPAN

22-03-12 12:27


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Introduction

I have worked for many years for the welfare of

of holding the exhibition “Art Brut Japonais” -

numerous different explanations. This is highly

people with disabilities in Japan. While involved

an exhibition of Japanese Outsider Art for one

apt here, in that there is only way to gain a true

in a wide range of activities that aid such people

year at the Halle Saint Pierre in Paris in 2010. This

understanding of Art Brut. It is to see it in the

who are making an effort to live ordinary lives,

series of exhibitions has attracted a great deal of

flesh. This is because there are no sufficient words

on occasion I have met those persons who have

attention. Over 120,000 visitors in Paris viewed

that are able to describe the way energy flows

created works of art that reflect their own unique

this exhibition along with substantial mass

directly from the actual works to the viewer and

points of view. On each occasion I have wondered

media coverage.

can shake the very core of their psyche.

works of art available to a wider audience, without

Presently, a decision has been made to hold the

As a large-scale show full of Japanese works of

them being branded under the concept of “welfare”.

“Outsider Art from Japan” Exhibition as a joint

art, this exhibition of “Outsider Art from Japan”

project between Japan and the Netherlands

should provide visitors with a vivid impression of

The exhibitions and activities of the Social Welfare

at the Museum Het Dolhuys. This will provide

our Japanese psychological world. This is a world

Organization Aiseikai as well as the Borderless Art

an opportunity to raise the level of interest in

which I would like to impart to the visitors of this

Museum NO-MA are an effort to put this concept

Outsider Art in Japan through learning about

exhibition with the hope of increasing the public’s

into reality. This museum, here in Haarlem in

the real world of Art Brut.

recognition of Art Brut in general.

not just displaying “outsider art” but also making

The first time I visited the museum Het Dolhuys,

There are many people who imagine that there are

efforts in other ways such as holding joint

I was deeply struck by its earnest efforts in

a number of works of art that are lying dormant in

exhibitions with so-called “normal” artists.

educating the public and creating an encounter

Japan. These are works of art that one day, I hope,

It has also served as a place that allows for

with the persons who make Outsider Art.

will all come to light and that will be embodied

creation, interaction and energies of various

Furthermore, it has been through my meetings

within the embrace of the Japanese culture, as

works of art. In addition, this museum also carries

with Mr. Hans Looijen, the Director of the museum

Art Brut did in the West.

out surveys and research to share knowledge

Het Dolhuys, that I have truly become impressed

with the visitors. These include the aimed efforts

with his creative and idealistic vision for Outsider

In conclusion, I would like to express my sincere

at scouting or looking for active artists in Japan.

Art. He is someone whom I shall never forget and be

appreciation for the assistance provided by

Currently, we have begun initiating surveys in

forever grateful to have met and now had a chance

Mr. Hans Looijen and his staff as well as to all

other Asian nations, starting with South Korea.

to collaborate with. I have also become impressed

of the other parties involved in the staging of

with all the research that he has carried out.

this exhibition.

about the possibilities of making their creative

the Netherlands, has taken on the challenge of

In this field of Outsider Art, we carried out an exhibition entitled “Japon” at the Collection de l’Art

There is a saying that goes, “one picture is worth

Brut at Lausanne in Switzerland four years ago.

a thousand words”. This describes how simply

Kengo Kitaoka,

We have also been blessed with the opportunity

seeing something once is far better than hearing

chairman of the Shiga Prefecture Social Welfare Institute

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THE COLLECTION PRESENTED IN THIS

United States. The use of script by Takanori Herai,

‘counterbalance’ to exactly that world.The debate

CATALOGUE IS BROUGHT TO EUROPE ON

the portrayal of beloved people, design schemes

as how to perceive ‘the other’ and what is to be

THE OCCASION OF THE PROJECT ‘OUTSIDER

for different cities by Norimitsu Kokubo or daily

considered as normal and as abnormal changed

ART FROM JAPAN’. IN THIS REMARKABLE

objects by Koichi Fujino (who is on the catalogue

through time, in concordance with the dominant

COLLECTION YOU WILL MEET VARIOUS ARTISTS

cover), a scripted version of radio broadcasts by

values in society as can be seen in our permanent

AND SEE THEIR EXTRAORDINARY WORKS

Hiroyuki Komatsu, movie posters from popular

exhibition. Het Dolhuys museum aims at an open

OF ART. THE SUBJECT OF THEIR THOUGHTS,

Samurai films by Daisuke Kibushi, piano keys and

dialogue to encourage her visitors and the wider

FEELINGS AND SOMETIMES EVEN OBSESSIONS

calorie intake schedules by Koichiro Miya and

public to reflect on this all-important issue. In

SEEM TO CONCERN DIFFERENT THEMES. SOME

rhythmic movements on paper by Akane Kimura

this project I want to look past definitions and

EXPRESS THEIR DEEPEST DESIRES, LIVELY

all result in original and striking works of art.

terminology. For me, the debate on the definition of

FANTASIES OR UNLOAD THEIR FONDEST OR

They are as striking as the now world famous art

Outsider Art is not interesting; the works presented

SUPPRESSED MEMORIES. OTHERS ARE CLEARLY

of Adolf Wölfli, Henry Darger, George Widener or

here are ‘just’ great works of art and deserve their

FASCINATED WITH ORDERING THE WORLD

Willem van Genk. Reality can take many different

place in our art institutions, as in our lives. Who

THROUGH A KIND OF PERSONAL SYSTEM.

forms and shapes, but is firmly rooted in the

would miss the chance to encounter these unique

THEY ALL HAVE ONE THING IN COMMON: THE

personal universe of the artists. It is probably

individuals and the remarkable art they created, by

ARTISTS ALL COMMUNICATE TO THE OUTSIDE

therefore that the overall appearance to me comes

struggling to incorporate their work in some kind

WORLD THROUGH THEIR ARTWORKS.

across as distinctively Japanese. It makes one

of category or part of a corpus? well, that someone

wonder if there is something like an ‘universal

is not me.

My first encounter with Japanese Outsider Art was

language’ through Outsider Art. Romanticism

a few years ago at an exhibition in Paris. I was

set aside; I think this is the human quality found

I am very proud we were given the chance to

overwhelmed by the beauty and quality of the

throughout the world. This makes these Japanese

display these works, starting in the Netherlands,

artworks. They invited me into a hidden world of

artworks, until recently unknown to me and the

and I would like to express my appreciation and

their makers. ‘Who are these makers?’, I wondered:

greater public, so recognizable and inviting, even

thanks to the Honorable Governor of the Shiga

I had to find out.

if there are dark thoughts and fears portrayed.

Prefecture Ms. Yukiko Kada, who kindly agreed with this exhibition being held.

During my journey I encountered several unique

There is an ongoing discussion about the definition

The staff of the Social Welfare Organization

individuals and visited various Welfare facilities

and terminology used for these kinds of works. In

Aiseikai and the Borderless Art Museum NO-MA

in Japan. One of the moments I will never forget is

the French speaking world the term Art Brut was

made this exhibition possible and prepared all

seeing Shinichi Sawada in a cabin in the mountains

introduced by Jean Dubuffet just after the Second

logistics. It is with admiration that I look upon

making one of his beautiful sculptures. He was fully

World War, after the introduction of the term

all the work they did. In particular I want to

occupied with making rhythmic movements with

‘Outsider Art’ by Roger Cardinal in the early the

take this opportunity to express many thanks

such patience and care as if being in a trance. And

1970s the debate has moved in many directions.

to Mr. Kengo Kitaoka, Chairperson of the Shiga

meeting his attendant; an older scholar devoted to

Although nowadays less people are in favour of

Prefectural Social Welfare Organization and the

making sure he eats and drinks while preparing the

making sharp distinctions between ‘professional

Borderless Art Museum NO-MA, who supported

traditional Japanese kiln for firing the sculptures.

art’ and ’Outsider Art’, art made for reasons other

and promoted this project and involved the most

It was moving to see employees in all facilities

than to function in society and find a place in the

important ateliers in Japan, such as in Tokyo (the

devoted to assist the artists with immense concern

context of the art world as such, is still looked

outstanding institution ‘Maple Garden’), and

and patience.

upon with doubts. It is my opinion that we are

beyond. It is under his supervision that many

often puzzled by the biography of the makers,

artists are able to devote their time to the art

When viewing the artworks I do not see a literary

and this has everything to do with the notions on

here presented.

representation of the world of the artists but

‘normality’. For different reasons the makers hardly

more of a poetic display of aspects of life and its

ever participate in the discourse on meaning,

The collection will travel through Europe and will

possible meaning. I recognize subjects, patterns,

impact or let alone inspiration of their work. This

hopefully create many more encounters with these

shapes and forms as seen in Outsider Art from

does not mean they are not aware of the existence

hidden worlds. There is an old Japanese saying;

other parts of the world. It is for the reader to

of great art, they do watch television, listen to the

‘the most beautiful flowers often bloom in hidden

compare and find similarities in subjects and

radio, see or read magazines and books and interact

places’, I fully agree.

ways of expressions as known from the, now

with the people in their lives. It is more than often

famous, outsider artists from Europe and the

that works come into this world as a reaction or

4

Hans Looijen, Director of museum Het Dolhuys


The possibilities of Japanese Art Brut (abj) Kenjiro Hosaka, Curator of The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

Looking at the works collected here I imagine some

didn’t exist back then. Japanese society, before and

Thus, the important thing about Art Brut is that

people will think: “aren’t these works different from

around the end of the 19th century, conceptually

it is in original form, removed from both ‘Art’ and

what they call Art Brut in Europe and America?”

didn’t think of art as capitalised ‘Art’. Of course

psychiatry (however Saito was talking about art

As pointed out by Adolf Wölfli and Henry Darger

there were works like the well-known Tohaku

brut in general). ‘To behold and relate to’, is the

etc., Art Brut is a strictly defined world that allows

Hasegawa’s paintings of pine forests, Unkei’s

proper way to approach these works.

no room for these colours, motives, shapes and

Buddhist sculptures and the gardens of Masakazu

motions full of sympathy for the world. They are

Kobori. However they are not referred to as artists

This approach is, as a matter of fact, steadily being

more bright than they are dark. Doesn’t all of this

but as masters. Now, makers of ‘abj’ make us rethink

practised. It is how ‘abj’ came into being. The

change our understanding of what we call Art Brut?

what ‘great works’ are ought to be in an era without

process up until ‘abj’ came into being had seen

artists and where ‘Art’ has lost its significance.

a lot of ‘collaborations’. I would say that many ‘abj’ works find their origin in the circumstances

It is correct to express doubt. These works certainly are far different from what is called

That is why I have chosen to shorten it to ‘abj’.

surrounding people with mental deficiencies, not

Art Brut in Western Europe. It is also quite

As Julia Kristeva pointed out, you have to be

mental disorders. (Of course ‘abj’ also includes

different from Outsider Art. There is, after all,

mindful of your influence when attempting a

works by the socially isolated, the elderly and

this peculiarity in Japanese culture that is called

systemisation of culture and not to remove

many more. Not to marginalise the wide diversity

‘Japanisation’. As you may well know whenever

‘abject’ things. Of course I have no intention of

of makers of Art Brut but it so happens that it

Japanese adopt something foreign as their own

calling ‘abj’ works ‘abject’. Paying attention to this

features an overwhelming number of mentally

they refine it and develop it further. That has

is important because during the course in which

deficient persons).

become their speciality. When the Kanji characters

‘Art’ is institutionalised, many things are thrown

were imported from China they didn’t stop at

overboard and therefore I think it is worthwhile

For example at the scene of creation, staff of the

inventing Kanji of their own, but derived from

to point out one of them.

institution often decides what paper, coloured pens or motives to give to the maker. Of course the

them the Hiragana and Katakana systems of writing (without which important masterpieces like the

‘ABJ’ AS A SYSTEM

maker has a final decision in what he or she will use

Genji Monogatari would not likely have come into

Then again ‘abj’ is also not simply a noun covering

in his or her art, but there is no mistake as to the

being). When French cuisine was imported it

all works, nor is it simply an adjective describing

attending staff having a great influence in this, too.

was adapted, which led to the birth of ‘nouvelle

a quality. It means something of a system. In what

cuisine’. Or consider for example cars, as well.

way, you ask?

I believe that you may rightly say Japanese Art

If I may digress briefly to make an introduction,

denied to them. However should we really deny

Brut is also one of those things that underwent

‘abj’ is already being noticed by renowned

them this? In this so-called world of Modern Art

a ‘Japanisation’. Not in the sense of changing

Japanese culturists such as Shinichi Nakazawa,

where we talk of ‘collaborations’, ‘abj’ is, simply

the works of art themselves but DuBuffet’s

anthropologist and theologian, Kyoichi Tsuzuki,

put, not being recognised as such. Still, this kind

(unspecified) original idea of Art Brut as a

photographer and editor, Rundy Taguchi,

of ‘unconscious collaboration’ occurs often in

conceptual framework and the possibilities it held

writer, and so forth. Among them, Tamaki Saito,

the world of Modern Art though not only to seek

for society, when being realised, deepened and

psychiatrist, when confronted with Art Brut

appreciation, but shouldn’t we appreciate it more?

refined, is what Japanese Art Brut is about.

stated a code of Ethical Practise was necessary.

When you take the time to read through the

Four criteria are of importance here: one must

history of Art Brut in Japan, certainly the activities

In this essay I will refer to this Japanese style of Art

be discreet in 1. ‘not criticising’ 2. ‘not showing

of Mizu no Ki Institution in Kyoto will show up.

Brut as art brut japonais (abj). The reason for not

appreciation’ and 3. ‘no diagnosing’, on top of

They excessively collaborated and at the time

capitalising ‘abj’ is that in Japan before modern

which Tamaki Saito also proposes a more forward

were criticised for it. But in this light we should

times, the field of what we call ‘Art’ nowadays

attitude, namely 4. ‘to behold and relate to’.

re-evaluate what they did.

Looking from a point of view where the creativity of the individual is stressed, in this case it is being

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The steps of creation are also influenced. People

it, and the methods by which it is evaluated, could

THE RELATION BETWEEN CULTURE AND

who take interest enter the surrounding and, at

they return to their social origins? The important

WELFARE WITH REGARDS TO THE JAPANESE

times, exceed the scope of their duties and organise

thing is not to take theory as-is. It is putting it

CONSTITUTION

private exhibitions at their own institution. Or,

to practical use. What is important now is not to

Of great interest is that the intimate relation

they apply for exhibitions to be held elsewhere.

increase the number of art galleries, collections, or

between culture, welfare and the Japanese con-

And then the people who attend those will start

to increase the prestige of Japanese art. It is about

stitution (1947) can be confirmed. It is written in

to spread the word and this pattern repeats itself.

the acknowledgement as a means to show respect

article 25 as follows:

Connections give birth to more connections. In

for humans. This method should be implemented

this sense, ‘abj’ is completely different from ‘art

cross-genre.

1. All people shall have the right to maintain the minimum standards of wholesome and cultured living.

singulier’. Like this, from a Romantic stance ‘abj’ At this very moment the Japanese welfare state

2. In all spheres of life, the State shall use its endeavours

is pressed for a response to the looming super-

for the promotion and extension of social welfare and

Furthermore, presently ‘abj’ is not being approa-

ageing society. Statistics as of 1st of October 2010

security, and of public health.

ched by commercial galleries. This entails that

state that on a population of 128 million, those of

‘abj’ is not yet being assessed for its economical

65 years or older comprise a never seen before 29.5

In fact, as far as the Japanese constitution is

market value and is relatively free to pursue

million. The reason for calling it a super-greying

concerned the word ‘culture’ only appears in this

artistic creativity, but for how long? They might

society is because the elderly comprise 23.1% of the

article. Furthermore more limiting words such as

say these are the works of amateurs from the Far

total population. This layer of people, a quarter

‘Art’ are not mentioned at all. In contrast, ‘public

East, but ‘abj’ is no laughing matter. At some point

of all citizens, cannot be ignored. Or rather should

welfare’ is mentioned four times and ‘social welfare’

in some way, you always have to start from zero.

be noticed.

only once. And yet it is clear that article 25 is not

is extraordinarily free.

independent of culture. At the very least it states ‘ABJ’ AND THE SUPER-AGEING SOCIETY

In 2006 The NOMA Borderless Art Museum held

that for a minimum standard of wholesome and

Abj has the potential to reform society. Who feels

an exhibition that appealed to the (power of)

cultured living, culture is necessary.

this most acutely is Kengo Kitaoka, Chairman of

imagination of elderly, ‘A Record of Speed Walking

the Shiga Prefectural Social Welfare Organization

Elderly – As They Age They Become More Radical’.

This says a great deal when we compare this to

He is well known for his efforts in promoting

The planner of this exhibition, NOMA’s art director

how other countries’ constitutions deal with

‘abj’. I asked him: “why do you, someone who has

Yoshiko Hata, stated the following: “ageing doesn’t

culture. For example the preamble to France’s

realised many reforms in our welfare system, pour

have this negative aspect of decreasing one’s energy

constitution of the fourth republic states: “The

your energy into ‘abj’?” He replied: “Maybe welfare

but frankly on the contrary, that energy explodes

Nation guarantees equal access for children and

cannot protect people. I realise that maybe it is art

in one’s remaining life years. At times they will

adults to instruction, vocational training and

express themselves more radically and excessively

culture”. And in the constitution of Spain; article

than younger generations, such energy is what we

20 expresses freedom of expression, article

would like to try and support.”

44 promotes and protects the right to access

th

that can”. (14 February, 2012 in conversation).

You could say ‘abj’ has come to achieve a particular

culture, and furthermore article 46 guarantees

development, acting as a driving force in welfare more than it does in Art. Therein certainly lies

Also before modern times there were many cases

the preservation of historic, cultural, and artistic

an attitude that respects human dignity by way

where people started to produce works only after

capital regardless of who owns them.

of valuing creative behaviour. At that point not

reaching old age. Sengai (1750-1837) who is famed

only mentally handicapped but also elderly enter

for his Zen paintings, as well as Mokujiki (1718-1810),

The Japanese constitution doesn’t carry a paragraph

the scope of who make ‘abj’. Kitaoka says: “In this

known for his simple Buddhist sculptures, began

or provision dedicated to culture or arts as these

super-ageing society, can welfare bring people

producing their works well over the age of 60.

examples do. The meaning it carries is that it is

together? Ultimately, isn’t it culture that brings

But because both of them, being monks, pursued

extremely poor in substance. Nevertheless, you could

people together? What tells you it is ok for you

knowledge and became splendid intellectuals

also say that this lack of detail conversely means that

to keep living? Breathing isn’t the hard part, you

you can’t really call their works Art Brut. Be that

there is room for multiple interpretations. In other

know. Isn’t culture, or the arts, the driving force

as it may their works engender a fairly simplistic

words, as far as Japan is concerned, culture and arts

behind our existence”.

style, and still today enjoy widespread popularity.

are not independently being protected (or, not being

Considering this, preparing a framework for sup-

backed). Rather, creative behaviour and cultural

This expression to me, as a curator of an art

porting those who start their creative work after

capital, from a welfare point of view, are supported

gallery, came as a big surprise. Art, the history of

reaching old age, is an urgent (but enjoyable) task.

for their intimate relation with life itself.

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Still, it is well known the Japanese constitution

century model alternative art space, and attempt

was drafted up at the General Headquarters

to construct a place for artists, with or without

(GHQ), but the GHQ draft did originally not carry

handicap, where the core parts can meet with

article 25. The ‘right to live’, was later added by the

mutual influence (Place of Core+Relation ART).

Japanese. In that meaning too, you could say in

With that goal in mind they already held their

this article lurks a characteristically Japanese way

public exhibition twice before 2011. In contrast with

of thinking.

public exhibitions where primarily handicapped persons apply for, the exhibition gave birth to an

BORDERLESS EXHIBITIONS AT JAPANESE

unique situation where Art students and elderly

PUBLIC ART GALLERIES

were also included.

The coexistence of art and welfare is already beginning to take on various shapes. There are

In this way, opportunities for ‘abj’ to be exhibited in

for example many temporary exhibitions being

public Art Museums and alternative spaces steadily

held at Art Museums, for instance: ‘Life’, held at

increase. Clearly this here is one of the things that

Mito Art Tower in 2006, ‘Emotional Drawing’, held

leads to a rebirth of ‘abj’, or maybe serve as a guide.

at the National Museum of Modern Art Tokyo in

‘Abj’ sheds a light on our future.

2008, ‘Innocence – Art Towards Life’, held at the Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Fine Arts in 2010

Then, in closing, I would like to make one final

etc., and it is likely this interest will only increase.

introduction. When discussing the welfare of

I expect that cases where Art Museums and

Japan we cannot forget about Kazuo Itoga

alternative spaces will have to deal with ‘abj’

(1914 - 1968) who, shortly after the end of the

will only increase.

second world war, founded facilities in Shiga Prefecture for war orphans and the disabled. And

For example one of the Art Museums managed

he spoke thusly: “Let these children be the light

by Tokyo City and one of Japan’s oldest museums,

of the world”. Showing compassion for the disabled

the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, plans for

and war orphans, not by showering our own light

large scale renovations and a grand reopening in

on them but, by being acutely aware of the fact

2012. For this occasion they announced that they

it is them who teach us so many things with only

work hard to expand their activities to provide

a few words. To take them as guide in this world

a space for creation and symbiosis. One of the

and make it better, is well expressed in Itoga’s

activities for realising this goal is to arrange for

thoughts. I follow his words and would want to

art by handicapped persons to be introduced once

shout out now, here: “Let ‘abj’ be the light of the

every three years starting 2014 (additionally, there

world!” At this time what is important is not who

are plans for exhibitions focussing among other

are part of ‘abj’ and what is or isn’t included. It is

things on architecture and living space).

about what ‘abj’ teaches us and, based on that, what it can do for us.

In Shiga Prefecture, next to Kyoto, the Prefectural Modern Art Museum plans to free itself from the

When we speak of creation, behaviour safeguar-

model of ‘Modern Art Museums’ on the occasion

ded by all of mankind, we should be feeling now

of the 30th anniversary in 2014. Interestingly for

the signs of the birth of a model where people

that event in a revolutionary move they will place

can support one another. I would like to state

religious art with a focus on sculptures together

once more that this right here is not an one-

with Art Brut.

sided relationship of one supporting the other. It is rather mutually supportive, a two-way

Furthermore artist Masato Nakamura,

relationship. This is what really holds my interest,

representing ‘3331 Arts Chiyoda’, together with

and what leads to the birth of societies. 'Abj' makes

‘POCOLART’ started what, for the time being,

us think about why we have started to forget these

they call ‘Exercise’. They are advocates of 21st

things and teaches us with a smile.

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‘The most beautiful flowers often bloom in hidden places’ JAPANESE PROVERB

HERE I AM


01 Takahiro SHIMODA (1983 - ) Iwate Prefecture The orange circles that fill every inch of the white sweat suit are salmon roe. Not content to simply adorn the clothing, the neckband has been undone and resewn, producing an air of perseverance that belies the initial impression of a pop sensibility. This is not just a piece of clothing. It is fully inhabited by the artist’s persistence and passion. Shimoda, who lives in a group home in Iwate Prefecture in northern Japan, simply wanted to wear the things he loves, which took the form of “Salmon Roe Pajamas.” It has been speculated that he loves salmon roe and sea urchin (he has drawn blue sea urchins on pairs of briefs) because he was raised along the coast of the Pacific Ocean. He has also made pajamas adorned with other things he loves: tempura-fried squid, Kentucky Fried Chicken, dove-shaped biscuits.

P. 11, left: Salmon Roe Pajamas 2004 Thread, oil-based marker, acrylic paint, Pyjamas 1525 x 1370 mm Collection of the artist P. 11, upper right: "Hato Sable" (Pigeon-shaped Cookies) Pajamas 2006 Thread, oil-based marker, acrylic paint, Pyjamas 1585 x 1470 mm Collection of the artist P. 11, bottom right: 01 Takahiro SHIMODA

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02 M.K. (1978- ) Shiga Prefecture M.K. finds his subjects among the photographs in magazines, but when he draws them, they appear in an uniquely deformed style. Perhaps this is because his psychological state is always in flux, and his eye is roving. But as his drawings take shape, they seem to transform into a form of confidence within him. When he has finished a drawing, a smile of relief washes across his face. The result is a bold form that stands in sharp contrast to the uncertain, hesitant style of his drawing. These two contrasting elements of nature that appear in his work are the source of its appeal. M.K. lives with his family and commutes to a nearby facility for people with intellectual disabilities, where he works as a papermaker. He makes his art at a studio program that the facility hosts twice a month.

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É Lady in Undergarments 2008 Water-based pen, Cardboard 381 x 195 x 6 mm Collection of the artist

Korean Animals 2004 Water-based pen, oil-based ink pen, cardboard 198 x 382 x 6 mm Collection of the artist

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02 M.K.

03 Hideaki YOSHIKAWA


03 Hideaki YOSHIKAWA ( 1970- ) Shiga Prefecture The eyes, noses, and mouths in Yoshikawa’s works are produced with dots. Whether he is working with clay or other materials, his “faces” are made the same way. Innumerable dots, composed with consistent spacing: eye, eye, nose, mouth, repeated from the top of the work to the bottom, drawn carefully, according to his own rules. The faces are layered on each other, gradually gaining mass and coming together as a unity. He works with his face just 10 cm from the clay, and the scope of his view is extremely narrow. Sometimes one needs a magnifying glass to confirm that the composition is made up of faces.

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