Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Outsider Art at the Wellcome Collection

M.K. Lady with Hole.
(Wellcome Collection image) 

Takanari Nitta Untitlted. Collection of the artist. Photograph © Satoshi Takaishi
(taken from Culture Critic).

Koichi Fujino, Squid.
(Wellcome Collection image)

 Takako Shibata, Mother.
(Wellcome Collection image)

Saiko Kono's dolls.
(Wellcome Collection image)

In a previous post I said something about a workshop I was going to participate in the Wellcome Trust. That happened last Thursday and it was very interesting as we analyzed the digital experience of an exhibition versus the material one, visiting (in both ways) its current Souzou: Outsider Art from Japan exhibition, that is beautiful, surprising and moving. 'Souzou' is a word that, as the curator explains, 'has no direct translation in English but a dual meaning in Japanese: written in one way – 創造 – it means creation and in another – 想像 – imagination'.

Outsider art, as we discussed, is usually not exhibited as "mainstream" art, this was one of the points of discussion (the meaning of things and its representations). People usually interact with the pieces, touch them, play with them. However this time, they wanted precisely the opposite and so in the exhibition all the artwork is exhibited making emphasis in their art status rather than in the outsider one. This exhibition shows the pieces of 46 self-taught artists grouped in 6 different areas: language, making, representation, relationships, culture and possibility.

Some of the pieces I really like, for different reasons were: Takao Uenish's Mountains and PET bottles; Takahiro Shimoda's pyjamas; Satoshi Nishikawa's Apple of rabbits; Koichi Fujino's Octopus!, Saiko Kono's lovely dolls (last photo); and the massive drawings of Norimitsu Kokubo, who is the youngest of the artists exhibited. You can appreciate the dimension of one of his artworks in this timelapse of the installation.

The Wellcome Collection always manage to make me want to share something here, the one they make about Death was glorious. So, if you happen to be in London, please go and see this incredible exhibition, that it is also the last major exhibition that will be held before the building 'a victim of its own success' is torn apart to create new display and public spaces. 'It opened five years ago expecting around 100,000 visitors a year, but has been attracting five times as many' The Guardian.

If you're not in London, you can have a look in the Wellcome Collection website and read some articles in The Guardian, The Independent, Culture Critic and Art Wednesday.

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