A beautiful and richly illustrated book published in association with an exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
Japan supernatural presents wildly imaginative works by Japanese artists past and present – from historical master Katsushika Hokusai to contemporary superstar Takashi Murakami.
Japan supernatural takes you on a journey of discovery of the astonishing array of yokai culture and yurei (ghosts) -phenomenal beings from fiendish goblins through to mischievous shapeshifters – that have inhabited Japanese culture for centuries. Once serving the purpose of explaining the unexplainable, they have been kept alive through folklore and legend in stories and artworks. They continue to exist in contemporary Japanese culture both in everyday practices such as avoiding renting an apartment that is inhabited by ghosts to the fanciful imagery and characters in popular anime and the monumental creations of Takahashi Murakami. While over time these creatures and characters have moved from being believed in to a form of entertainment ranging from horror to the comical they have maintained an ongoing presence in Japanese art and society – in novels, films, anime, manga and games -.
Drawn from around the world as well as the Gallery’s own collection, works date from the 1700s to 2019 and include fantastically detailed ukiyo-e woodblock prints, miniature netsuke (toggles), metres-long scrolls and large-scale contemporary photographs, paintings and installations. Some of the greatest Japanese artists of the past including Katsushika Hokusai, Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi and Kawanabe Kyosai, alongside contemporary artists Chiho Aoshima, Miwa Yanagi and Takahashi Murakami who update the tradition for our times.
About the Author
Melanie Eastburn is senior curator of Asian art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Other contributors include Chiaki Ajioka, Michael Brand, Zack Davisson, Lucie Folan, Michael Dylan Foster, Komatsu Kasuhiko, Mami Kataoka, Justin Paton, and Hiroko Yoda.