Outsider art from Japan Published by WBOOKS - Book Review

by FrancesSpiegel

Outsider Art from Japan, published by WBOOKS, presents the work of 46 Japanese artists. None have had formal training. All have a psychiatric or intellectual disorder.

Outsider Art from Japan has been published by WBOOKS. The book explores the artistic activities of Japanese artists who for various reasons fall into the category 'Outsider Art'. None of these artists has received any formal training but all have a psychiatric or intellectual disorder.
The works include letters, sculptures, paintings, portraits of family members or friends, sketches of cityscapes, objects created from recycled materials or rhythmic patterns on paper – all are striking works of art. Many of these artists find it difficult, or even impossible, to communicate with the world around them. Their artwork does it for them.

Defining Outsider Art

Outsider Art from Japan coincides with several major exhibitions of Outsider Art held recently in Switzerland, France, Holland and the United Kingdom. The book provides an opportunity to increase the level of public interest in Outsider Art, not just from Japan, but from all over the world.

Hans Looijen, Director of Het Dolhuys Museum, discusses the definition of Outsider Art. He refers to Jean Debuffet (1901-1985), who introduced the term 'Art Brut' just after World War II, and Roger Cardinal who first coined the term 'Outsider Art' in the 1970s. Looijen expands the theme by asking how we define 'normal'. The artists presented in this book have little interest in how their art is defined, what it means, or whether or not it can be considered 'normal'. They rarely take part in these discussions – they are simply compelled to create.

Outsider Art from Japan

Museum Het Dolhuys, WBOOKS 2012
Outsider Art from Japan
Outsider Art from Japan
Museum Het Dolhuys, WBOOKS BV

Outsider Art - Increasing Awareness

Outsider Art from Japan coincides with several major exhibitions of Outsider Art held recently in Switzerland, France, Holland and the United Kingdom (Wellcome Collection: Souzou - Outsider Art from Japan). The book provides an opportunity to increase the level of public interest in Outsider Art, not just from Japan, but from all over the world.

Hans Looijen, Director of Het Dolhuys Museum, discusses the definition of Outsider Art. He refers to Jean Debuffet (1901-1985), who introduced the term 'Art Brut' just after World War II, and Roger Cardinal who first coined the term 'Outsider Art' in the 1970s. Looijen expands the theme by asking how we define 'normal'. The artists presented in this book have little interest in how their art is defined, what it means, or whether or not it can be considered 'normal'. They rarely take part in these discussions – they are simply compelled to create.

 

 

 

Outsider Art

Outsider Art from Japan

Outsider Art form Japan accompanies an exhibition at the Het Dolhuys Museum in Haarlem starting in Spring 2012.This carefully crafted publication is comprised of fifty biographi...

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Outsider Art Should be Part of Mainstream Art Culture

In his Introduction, Kengo Kitaoka, Chairman of the Shiga Prefecture Social Welfare Institute, explains the need to educate the public by introducing them to the people who create Outsider Art.

All the artists represented in this book suffer from mental health issues and for some it is extremely difficult to communicate with those around them. Their work tells us how they see the world, their desires and hopes, and how they react with the world around them. To deviate from what is considered normal is not accepted in Japanese culture and people with mental illness are often kept outside society. Kengo Kitaoka's sincere wish is that the work of all Outsider Artists, not just those represented in this publication, becomes part of mainstream art culture.

 



Outsider Art from Japan - Layout of the Catalogue

The catalogue is organised in four main sections, reflecting the sentiments of a Japanese proverb or quotation:

 

  • Here I Am - 'The most beauiful flowers often bloom in hidden places' - Japanese proverb
  • Inventories or Messages - 'Outsider Art overflows, there are no limits' - Yoshiko Hata, art director No-Ma Museum
  • Visions or Memory - 'It started suddenly, as if something had opened up...' - From a description of the work of Marie Suzuki, an artist represented in this book.
  • A System for the World - 'How should one live, what should one do?' - Masaomi Kitajima, outsider artist from the Nagano Prefecture.

Outsider Art from Japan - Buy the Book

Outsider Art from Japan is published by WBOOK. With over 140 pages the book is curated by Hans Looijen and Jessica Belles with texts by Yoshiko Hata, Taeko Inoue, Kazuhiko Kudo, Moto Murai and Rika Makihara.  This publication is available from all good book stores – ISBN 978 90 400 0741 5.

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Updated: 11/10/2013, FrancesSpiegel
 
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