Outsider Art in JAPAN - Imaginary Worlds - screener

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Outsider Art in JAPAN - Imaginary Worlds

Year: 2013, 50 mins
Code: MG-Outsider4

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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 4: Shiho UedaShinichi Sawada, Satoshi Nishikawa

Shiho Ueda
Born in 1971. Lives in Ichinohe-machi, Iwate Prefecture. She calls the human-like throngs drawn on large pieces of paper "Mr. Pinky Fingers" (koyubito san). Perhaps combining images of "pinky finger" (koyubi) and "sweetheart" (koibito)? She won't tell you, even if you ask, which incites the imagination of viewers all the more. And gradually you fall under the spell of her pictures.

Shinichi Sawada
Born in 1982.Lives in Kusatsu City, Shiga Prefecture. He plants prickly thorns with his slender, lithe fingers. It's not clear why he uses thorns to create patterns, just as it still isn't clear why Jomon-period pottery used ropes for their characteristic look. Regardless, his pottery possesses the same mystical quality and the same beauty as pottery from the Jomon period.

Satoshi Nishikawa

Born in 1974. Lives in Omihachiman City, Shiga Prefecture. Things he's seen suddenly get used as subject matter for his work. He sees a sailboat on television, and already the next day he's making a sailboat from clay. Sailors right out of a manga are on board. An apple catches his eye, and he makes an apple. A bunch of rabbits are on the apple. There's something adorable about it. Very amusing.

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