Past Exhibition

Manga Realities: Exploring the Art of Japanese Comics Today

December 4, 2010 – February 13, 2011

Art Sonje Center

Manga Realities: Exploring the Art of Japanese Comics Today

Manga Realities: Exploring the Art of Japanese Comics Today presents the work of nine popular Manga artists in uniquely designed spatial installations reflecting on the potential of Manga artistically, and as a medium of communication spanning various forms of expression. Manga – Japanese comics – refers to a broad spectrum of visual media whose increasing readership has placed it in the limelight both in Japan and around the world. Manga may also be one of the fastest growing means of mass communication still able to effectively stimulate one’s creativity. It continues to expand into various areas such as video games and animation, and is not only a way of reflecting reality but also allows us to share realities. This exhibition is organized in collaboration with art organizations from Japan, Korea, Australia and the Philippines, and will be held consecutively in each country.

This exhibition represents an extension of the Art Sonje Center program beyond its focus on fine arts and into the realm of popular culture. With this gesture, Art Sonje Center aspires to draw on the specificities and appeal of Manga to create an opportunity to promote the enjoyment of art to a wider audience.

Featuring Number Five, The World God Only Knows, Sugar Sugar Rune, BECK, Children of the Sea, Solanin, Five Minutes from the Station, Sennen Gaho, Nodame Cantabile this exhibition explores the past decade of narrative changes in Manga as well as current narrative trends. A backdrop from Matsumoto Taiyo’s Number Five has been enlarged to life-size and installed at the entrance to the second floor gallery, heightening the audience’s sensation of entering into the world of Manga. In this piece, the human race organizes the post-human Order of Peace as resistance to the effects of a destroyed ecosystem. For Harold Sakuishi’s BECK, three screens show scenes of a band in concert. However, to emphasize the amplified visual experience of music that is possible in Manga, no sound accompanies the images. Igarashi Daisuke’s Children of the Sea addresses notions of ecology and the environment around us, and is presented in an installation that evokes the ocean.

On the third floor, the dialogues between the hero and heroine from Asano Inio’s Solanin will be featured alongside a studio-like installation. Original illustrations from Kyo Machiko’s Sennen Gaho will be shown although this work was published serially on the internet and represents the way the distribution of comics has been shifting from print to ‘web’ based media. Ninomiya Tomoko’s Nodame Cantabile is famous in Korea for its animation and movie variations. For the exhibition an auto-playing piano will add enjoyment to the presentation of this well-known work.

A Manga Guidebook was developed to offer additional layers of understanding for Manga Realities: Exploring the Art of Japanese Comics Today exhibition. In addition, the complete collections of comics of the works in the exhibition will be on display on the first floor. Takahashi Mizuki – Contemporary Art Center, Art Tower Mito curator, and Toyoshima Hideki, the exhibition designer, will discuss the exhibition on the opening day.

December 4, 2010 – February 13, 2011
Art Sonje Center
Anno Moyoco, Igarashi Daisuke, Matsumoto Taiyo, Ninomiya Tomoko
Hosted by
Art Sonje Center, The Japan Foundation
Curated by
Takahashi Mizuki