The focus of art is not limited to the visual; it also explores life and examines death, either in direct or indirect ways.
All humans wish to live forever, but death is a natural process that all living things must experience. In spite of the Japanese expression "tenju wo mattou suru" (to live out one's allotted lifespan), death is something that sometimes comes without warning or with violence. When it does, we generally referred to these events as "misfortunes."
Within the realm of death, science is making hungry progress towards the explication of heretofore "incurable" diseases, and in the realm of life, has, as everyone knows, begun beating a path into that delicate territory of cloned birth. The focus of art is not limited to the visual; it also explores life and examines death, either in direct or indirect ways. It is interesting that the word "still-life," that important genre of painting, is in French "nature morte," which literally means "dead nature." If one takes this further, it may be said that all art in some respect or other is connected with this theme, i.e., "life and death". The artworks featured in the current Permanent Collection exhibition display or suggest a variety of perspectives on these subjects. Works that touch directly on the theme of life and death include the photo series Sentimental Journey/Winter Journey taken by Nobuyoshi Araki at the time of his honeymoon with his wife and at the time of her death. Karel Appel's The Child of Hiroshima, as its title suggests, was triggered by the tragedy of Hiroshima. On the other hand, the large photos of Laurie Simmons might be seen as modern-day still lifes, which combine modern media with a unique concept. In these works and others, this exhibition presents a wide spectrum of contemporary expression on this theme.
Featured artists: Karel Appel, Nobuyoshi Araki, Jonathan Borofsky, Tracey Emin, Erro, Gilbert & George, Kaoru Ijima, Yayoi Kusama, Robert Mapplethorpe, Yasumasa Morimura, Laurie Simmons, and others. (about 40 works)
Image: Nobuyoshi Araki From "erotos" 1983/93
Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, 4-7-25 Kitashinagawa Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 140-0001
Hours: 11:00-17:00, Wednesday until 20:00; Closed on Mondays (last entry 30 min. before closing)