Image Narratives: Literature in Japanese Contemporary Art

The National Art Center, Tokyo

poster for Image Narratives: Literature in Japanese Contemporary Art
[Image: Erika Kobayashi, My Torch, 2019, C-print 54.9×36.7cm (each, set of 47) Collection of the artist ©Erika Kobayashi Courtesy of Yutaka Kikutake Gallery Photo: Kasane Nogawa]

Ends in 28 days

This group exhibition features six Japanese contemporary artists who are active both inside and outside the country. In addition to being born over a broad span of time, from the 1950s to the 1980s, the artists make use of a diverse range of expressive methods, including installations that incorporate videos and photographs. Common to all of the artists’ work is the notable presence of literary elements. The phrase, “Ut pictura poesis” (As is painting, so is poetry), derived from the ancient Roman poet Horace’s Ars Poetica (The Art of Poetry), is frequently cited as proof for the close relationship between the artistic genres of poetry and painting. Discussions on the affinity between literary arts, such as poetry and prose, and visual arts, such as painting and sculpture, have been undertaken in a variety of ages and places. As the title suggests, the theme of this exhibition is literature. But in this case, the word does not refer to literature as an artistic genre - i.e., literary works that take the form of a book. Rather, it indicates narratives made up of images that exist within the context of contemporary art.



from August 28, 2019 to November 11, 2019


Adults ¥1000, University Students ¥500

Venue Hours

From 10:00 To 18:00
fridays closing at 21:00, saturdays closing at 21:00
Closed on Tuesdays
Note:On a Public Holiday Tuesday, the museum is open, but closed on the following Wednesday.


Address: 7-22-2 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-8558
Phone: 03-5777-8600

Direct access from exit 6 at Nogizaka station on the Chiyoda line, 4 minute walk from exit 4a at Roppongi station on the Hibiya line. 4 minute walk from exit 7 at Roppongi station on the Toei Oedo line.

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