Japanese Art After Fukushima: Return of Godzilla
20 Mar 2015 -
30 May 2015
Curators: Suzanne Davies, RMIT Gallery Director and Chief Curator, Dr Linda Will
In light of Japan’s nuclear past and present, the threat of atomic annihilation has long influenced Japanese artists.
This exhibition will focus on the work of artists responding to the events at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011 and its environmental implications.
The massive radioactive monster Godzilla looms large in popular culture, originating in a series of live action Japanese (tokusatsu) films in the 1950s, where it emerged from the sea to destroy Japanese cities. The nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were fresh in the Japanese consciousness and the character was seen as a metaphor for nuclear weapons. In the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, when a tsunami tore through the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, the potent image of Godzilla and his anti-nuclear subtext again forces people to question nuclear power.
Japanese Art After Fukushima: Return of Godzilla is part of the Art + Climate = Change 2015 festival celebrating and identifying Australian and international artists working with environmental ideas.
Featuring Australian and international artists working with environmental ideas, including:
• Ken and Julia Yonetani, artists with an interesting Australia / Japanese creative partnership, exploring the interaction between humans, nature and science.
• Manabu Ikeda, a Japanese artist who lives and works in Wisconsin, USA, whose massive, intricate drawings are influenced by the natural world and can take up to a year to complete. His recent work focused on the turmoil of the 2011 earthquake that hit Japan.
• Takashi Kuribayashi, a highly acclaimed Japanese artist whose range of environmental artworks offer an immersive experience of imagined ecologies, using the affective qualities of water as a channel to reimagining not only local ecologies, but also their interconnectedness with regional and global space.
• Yutaka Kobayashi, a Japanese environmental artist currently based in Australia on an 18 month residency. The frequently participative outreach component of his art extends his ecological messages into the larger contexts of community. Kobayashi’s installation Absorption Ripple is inspired by the idea of how quickly people forget about great disasters and can get distracted.