Autumn (Tokyo Studio)

Kanro: Chrysanthemums tinge yellow/ ducks migrate (5 of 5)

October 24th, 2008

Kanro 15 of 15In lieu of the post-poned Mount Takao hike, Fukushima-san invited us to see the Picasso exhibition with him. It has been raining relentlessly since yesterday afternoon. We met our friend at the National Art Centre at 13.40, glad to have gotten out of the rain. Fukushima-san has been excited about the Picasso shows for months (there are two exhibitions: one at the National Art Centre and one at the Suntory Museum of Art, both in Roppongi) and pre-purchased his discounted tickets through his labour union. ‘I love Picasso,’ he declared when he met us at the foyer.

Fukushima-san told me earlier that the Musée National Picasso in Paris is currently renovating and has loaned out its collection to various museums around the world. The one we visited has a total of 167 works. The exhibition is divided into 7 sections: each characterised by a different phase of Picasso’s practice – spatially flanged by 7 large portraits of the artist progressively getting older, a little rounder, and his look growing more intense.

The term ‘blockbuster shows’ probably doesn’t really apply in Japan since, it seems, all types of works have their own group of devoted fans. Visitors to museums and galleries are generally very intent on examining each piece of work – defying the general statistics by spending an inordinate amount of time in front of each exhibit. One needs great physical stimina to visit an exhibition here.

The museum has chosen lesser known works and included many sketches and studies of larger works. This, in itself, gives an emphasis on the development of Picasso’s practice, his experimentation, conceptual and technical exploration, over his celebrity. Although our friend seems equally impressed by the artist’s infamous exploits as with his art.

The conclusion to the exhibition is of course followed by the mandatory opportunity to shop. Here you can buy post-cards, exhbition catalogues, posters, books, calendars, stickers, note-pads, folders, and framed  reproductions (ranging from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of yen). You can even buy limited edition ‘Tokyo Picasso’ chocolates. Outside there is an advertisment for a ‘Tokyo Picasso’ 3-course meal consisting of a Spanish appetiser, a French main, and a dessert inspired by Picasso’s palette. We had a chuckle over it. Then I realised I was wearing a stripy ‘Pablo’ shirt.

Comments are closed.