Art at the exhibition

In addition to work by 18th-century artist Katsushika Hokusai, known as 'the Rembrandt of Japan', contemporary art is also well represented with colourful art installations, a painting several metres high in gold leaf and a Japanese sculpture we went to get from Berchem.

Uki – Uki

One of the eye-catchers of the exhibition is the four-metre-high painting Uki-Uki by Matsuura Hiroyuki. The work is representative of the entire exhibition in how it links classical and contemporary Japan. A girl is depicted in a classic kimono, but in colours typical in contemporary cuteness culture. She has enormous eyes like a manga or anime character, but with hairpins like a courtesan. The work is painted in contemporary style, but against a background of gold leaf as found on antique Japanese folding screens. 

Colorful Rebellion - Seventh Nightmare

The Japanese Sebastian Masuda enjoys international fame as an artist and Kawaii pioneer. The installation 'Colorful Rebellion - Seventh Nightmare' consists of a colourful room with an empty, white bed. The walls are lined with plastic toys, stuffed animals, ribbons and faux fur.

The artwork is a representation of Masuda's complex experience and is simultaneously a portrait of the Harajuku district, the birthplace of Kawaii. In this neighbourhood, cuteness is used as a form of empowerment and self-expression: immersion in a world of childlike fantasy means that people do not have to conform to the prevailing norm. Masuda's spectacular Kawaii installation can be seen in Belgium for the first time.

Puff Marshie

A lot of people from Antwerp know her from the intersection on Fruithoflaan, but during Cool Japan, you'll see the work of art 'Puff Marshie' at the MAS. The sculpture by the internationally renowned Yoshitomo Nara shows a cute girl's head with a grim twist of the mouth. The tension arising from the slightly ominous gaze on the one hand and the girl's cute and cuddly look on the other is typical of Nara's work. Although the absence of colour is rather atypical for the artist. Puff Marshie was created in 2006 for an exhibition in the Middelheim Museum in Antwerp.