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Outsider Art in JAPAN - Metamorphosis

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Outsider Art in JAPAN - Metamorphosis


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'Souzou' is a word that has no direct translation in English but a dual meaning in Japanese. It can be written two ways, meaning either 'creation' or 'imagination'.

Outsider Art has its origins in the French word art brut, which described art made by those outside the art scene particularly that created in 19th Century European Psychiatric Hospitals. In The 1940s, surrealists like Dubuffet and Max Ernst became interested in this art, and Outsider Art came to be more broadly interpreted as outside a didactic tradition and outside the boundaries of official culture. It was often unsettling and indecipherable, yet undeniably arresting. While it did not follow the artistic fashion of its time, Outsider Art nevertheless responds to the times in unexpected ways. For this reason Outsider Art has a growing following in world art circles.

Outsider Art has also had an influence on the introduction and development of art therapy programs around the world. In Japan’s art therapy programs, materials are typically made available to the participants without any instruction on what they should make or how they should make it. The results are astonishing and diverse. The work of Japanese outsider artists has now been featured in galleries in London, Lausanne and the Venice Biennale.

Outsider Art in Japan” is a series of films that demonstrates the circumstances of some of these outsider artists, and how their art is created. With immense concentration, with zen like calm, methodically, obsessively, they create mysterious objects and fantastic drawings. The creation is ritual, reality into fantasy, fantasy into reality, revealing a logic that is perplexing yet strangely familiar.

Featured in Volume 10: Kaoru Kudo, Takahiro Shimoda, Eijiro Miyama

This title is part of a collection featuring 10 Volumes, 30 artists. The volumes are also available as a set: Outsider Art in Japan Volumes 1-10

Kaoru Kudo
Born in 1951. Lives in Inagi City, Tokyo. After graduating from high school, Kaoru, a film lover, went on to study French while working part-time at a cinema. At around the same time, she developed schizophrenia. She now resides in a hospital making hair accessories and necklaces, similar to those that Audrey Hepburn wore, out of toilet paper and scratch paper.

Takahiro Shimoda
Born in 1983. Lives in Hanamaki City, Iwate Prefecture. His passion for a pair of salmon roe pajamas was strong but no such pajamas were sold. Well, why not make them on your own? So he painted salmon roe and made stitches around the design. Since then, he has been making whatever pajamas his heart desires--one pair per year.

Eijiro Miyama
Born in 1934. Lives in Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture. Kotobuki-cho in Yokohama is a day-laborer's town. Eijiro Miyama the "hat man" is well known amongst the people in Kotobuki-cho. He wears a hat that looks like a cluster of scraps he picked up off the streets and a pair of earrings made of plastic bottles with real goldfish in them. If you happened to meet him, he would surely warm your heart.

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