Monday, October 20, 2008

Nagoya City Art Museum October 2008 Exhibit

The latest exhibition opened last Saturday at the Nagoya City Art Museum located in Shirakawa Park near Fushimi.It runs until December 14th.
The exhibition consists of 64 paintings and collages from 23 artists from the first half of the 20th century.The items come from the K20 collection of the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein Westfalen in Dusseldorf,Germany.
The bulk of the art on display are works from Picasso and Klee though other painters who also feature include Chagall,Magritte and Miro.
Apart from the opening statement at the entrance there are no English language captions.
There are a number of "isms" on display in this exhibition including "expressionism", "cubism","surrealism"and one I'd never heard of"fauvism".
Consulting my dog-eared copy of "Art for Dummies" "fauvism"is described as paintings ...."in which the landscape and human figures had become a riot of conflicting colors -flesh tones and purple combinations"pg169.
"These works were derided by critics as "Fauvism" a French word for "wild beasts"p165 Matisse is one artist who used such garish and dissonant colours but his painting in this collection,"The Gulf of Saint Tropez"didnt strike me as being particularly garish.Maybe it was in 1904 but the passing of time makes it seem quite conventional now.
There are some nice bright Picasso cubist paintings with the usual jumbled figures I associate with his work."Art for Dummies" defines Cubism thus"Cubism is essentially the fragmenting of three-dimensional forms into flat areas of pattern and colour, overlapping and intertwining so that shapes and parts of the human anatomy are seen from the front and the back at the same time.The style was created by Picasso in tandem with his great friend Georges Braque".pg165
There is a Braque still life included in the exhibition and its interesting to compare it with a similar work by Picasso.You'd swear the two pieces were by the same artist.

Other than Picasso,Paul Klee contributes the majority of works on display.Theres a good selection of his work here from 1909 to 1940 and materials he used including pen and Indian ink,watercolours and pastels.Some of his works with its dots,crescents and geometric shapes seemed to hark back to early Egyptian hieroglyphics.
Finally I shouldnt forget to note the earlier surrealist paintings of Magritte which just had me scratching my head.Nor the annoying tinkling piano music that accompanies a video of the German gallery.

Id recommend this exhibition if only for the fact there is an absence of Impressionist painters and paintings which seem to be the bread and butter of galleries here.
To my simple mind its beneficial to see and appreciate other forms of art that are less accessible and more challenging from time to time.
The exhibition as Ive typed above runs till December 14th and costs 1,300yen per adult at the door.

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