SOAS University of London

Department of the History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts

The Death of Landscape in Post-War Japanese Art and Visual Culture

Michio Hayashi

Date: 20 February 2018Time: 5:15 PM

Finishes: 20 February 2018Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: B211

Type of Event: Seminar

Jointly organised with the SOAS East Asian Art and Archaeology Research Seminar and Tate Research Centre: Asia

Three historically important incidents occurred almost simultaneously in the realm of contemporary art and visual culture around 1970 in Japan: 1) The production of the 1969 A.K.A. Serial Killer, an experimental documentary film; 2) the rise of the Mono-ha movement in the context of contemporary art practices; and 3) the innovative movement in photography and its theory epitomized by the PROVOKE magazine. These cases have already been studied extensively in their respective fields. However, most likely due to conventional disciplinary restrictions, these incidents have neither been analyzed as belonging to a larger epistemic shift nor studied together as forming a symptomatic triad to indicate the nature of that shift. This lecture attempts to do precisely that: to see these cases as interconnected through key terms and concepts: the ‘death of landscape,’ high economic growth and the maturation of the consumer society, and the formation of subjectivity in this period. I seek to situate this shift in relation to a larger historical framework by looking back to the origin of its epistemic formation. The ‘birth of landscape (fūkei),” famously put forward by Karatani Kōjin (1993) in his Origins of Modern Japanese Literature, will be used as a reference point to illuminate this historical framework. I suggest that the category of the landscape (fūkei), born around 1880s according to Karatani, ended its life cycle about a century later, at about 1970.

About the Speaker:

Michio Hayashi is a Professor of Art History and Visual Culture at the Sophia University, Tokyo, and currently a Visiting Fellow with Tate Research Centre: Asia. His publications include Painting Dies Twice, or Never, vol.1-7 (Tokyo: Art Trace, 2003-2009), Natsuyuki Nakanishi (New York: Fergus McCaffrey Gallery, 2014), Tadaaki Kuwayama (Fellbach: Edition Axel Menges, 2014), and “Tracing the Graphic in Postwar Japanese Art,” Tokyo 1955-1970: A New Avant-Garde(exhibition catalogue), MoMA, New York: 94-119. He is co-editor of a volume of Japanese postwar art criticism, From Postwar to Postmodern: Art in Japan 1945-1989 (New York: MoMA, 2012).

Organiser: Dr. Pamela Corey