Thematic Tour

Where is the art?

With Hans Bjarne Thomsen and Roger M. Buergel
8 May 2018

A surprising question, especially if asked within a museum that clearly seems to display works of art. But there is actual meaning behind this question. Until the Meiji era, Japan had no clear concept of “art” in the Western sense; this concept was apparently not needed. Looking at the works of art by Aiko Tezuka and others in this exhibition, we try to clarify questions such as “are there genuinely ‘Japanese aesthetics’ in contemporary Japanese art?”, “if so, what are the distinguishing characteristics of contemporary Japanese aesthetics?” and even “does it make sense, in an increasingly globalized world, to talk of contemporary Japanese art?”

In cooperation with the Chair for Global History, University of Zurich and the Chair for East Asian Art History, University of Zurich. Thematic tour in the exhibition A Painting for the Emperor: Japanese Labourers on Sugar Plantations in Hawai’i.