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Foto: Gion
© Gion

Art at the exhibition

In addition to work by 18th-century artist Katsushika Hokusai, known as 'the Rembrandt of Japan', contemporary art was also well represented with colourful art installations and a painting, several metres high, in gold leaf.

Uki – Uki

One of the eye-catchers of the exhibition was the four-metre-high painting Uki-Uki by Matsuura Hiroyuki. The work was representative of the entire exhibition in how it linked classical and contemporary Japan. A girl is depicted in a classic kimono, but in colours typical in contemporary cuteness culture. She has enormous eyes like a manga or anime character, but with hairpins like a courtesan. The work is painted in contemporary style, but against a background of gold leaf as found on antique Japanese folding screens. 

Colorful Rebellion - Seventh Nightmare

The Japanese Sebastian Masuda enjoys international fame as an artist and Kawaii pioneer. The installation 'Colorful Rebellion - Seventh Nightmare' consists of a colourful room with an empty, white bed. The walls are lined with plastic toys, stuffed animals, ribbons and faux fur.

The artwork is a representation of Masuda's complex experience and is simultaneously a portrait of the Harajuku district, the birthplace of Kawaii. In this neighbourhood, cuteness is used as a form of empowerment and self-expression: immersion in a world of childlike fantasy means that people do not have to conform to the prevailing norm. Masuda's spectacular Kawaii installation could be seen in Belgium for the first time.

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