Posted:Apr 2, 2024

Best Exhibitions Starting in April 2024

Tokyo Art Beat brings you a selection of the best exhibitions opening in Tokyo and beyond in April 2024

From left to right: Kyoko Hirano "A Life Dedicated to Painting" (Hiratsuka Museum of Art), Currents / Undercurrents: Bringing Together the Endless Flow (Aomori Contemporary Art Centre), Junji Ito Exhibition "Enchantment" (Setagaya Literary Museum © J.I. / Asahi Shimbun Publications Inc.)

Tokyo Art Beat presents a selection of the best exhibitions opening in April 2024. Bookmark the exhibitions on the TAB website or TAB app and never miss the openings and closings.

Theaster Gates: Afro-Mingei (Mori Art Museum)

Based on the South Side of Chicago, Theaster Gates has earned international acclaim for his sculptures and ceramics. This is his first solo exhibition in Japan and the largest ever in Asia, with the speculative proposition of "Afro-Mingei" placed as the central backbone of the presentation. This exhibition showcases major bodies of existing and never-before-seen works that demonstrate the influence of Japanese culture on Gates' practice.

Venue: Mori Art Museum
Schedule: April 24 - September 1

Ho Tzu Nyen "A for Agents" (Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo)

Singaporean artist Ho Tzu Nyen’s films, video installations, and performances traverse historical events, political ideologies, subjectivities, and cultural identities of Southeast Asia. This latest exhibition traces the trajectory of the artist’s practice, presenting six film-based installations alongside a new work, T for Time (2023).

Venue: Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo
Schedule: April 6 - July 7

Where My Words Belong (Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo)

This exhibition focuses on "my language," which is formed by experience and environment in a language with rich variations in dialects and time periods. The exhibiting artists are Yuni Hong Sharp, Mayun Kiki, Mai Nagumo, Hideo Arai, and In Sook Kim. The exhibition features works looking at differences within the same language with increased resolution.

Venue: Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo
Schedule: April 18 - July 7

Giorgio De Chirico: Metaphysical Journey (Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum)

A solo exhibition of Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978), who greatly influenced Surrealist painters such as Salvador Dali and René Magritte, will be held at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. The exhibition will introduce de Chirico's work from their early years to later years, divided into themes such as "Piazza Italia," "Metaphysical Chamber," and "Manukan," and will cover approximately 70 years of his painting career. This is the first large-scale solo exhibition of Giorgio de Chirico's work in Japan in ten years.

Venue: Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum
Schedule: April 27 - August 29

Aquirax Uno (Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery)

Continuing to thrive as a renowned illustrator and graphic designer in Japan, Aquirax Uno (1934-) played a significant role in popularizing the terms "illustration" and "illustrator" during the 1960s, consistently leading the era. Featuring diverse and valuable original drawings and materials, this exhibition showcases Uno's contributions, ranging from corporate advertisements in the 1950s to underground theater posters and children's books from the 1960s, as well as recent paintings themed around haiku and young girls.

Venue: Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery
Schedule: April 11 - June 16
*Discount with MuPon

Junji Ito Exhibition "Enchantment" (Setagaya Literary Museum)

Manga artist Junji Ito depicts a beautiful yet grotesque world. His work has captivated readers both domestically and internationally, engulfing the entire world in a whirlwind of excitement. This first large-scale solo exhibition of Ito's work will display his original hand-drawn illustrations, artworks, and paintings. In addition to his debut work, Tomie, the exhibition will feature series manga such as Uzumaki, Lovesickness: Junji Ito Story Collection, and Soichi's Beloved Pet. For more information, check out this news article.

Venue: Setagaya Literary Museum
Schedule: April 27 - September 1

Mingei - The Beauty of Everyday Things (Setagaya Art Museum)

This exhibition explores "mingei," or folk art, through the themes of "clothing, food, and shelter." With an emphasis on production areas and the craftsman, showcasing approximately 150 beautiful mingei items used in daily life. Another exhibition highlight is an installation by Terry Ellis and Keiko Kitamura (director of MOGI Folk Art), who have played a significant role in the current folk art boom. This exhibition is an excellent opportunity to explore the evolution of "mingei" and its present and future.

Venue: Setagaya Art Museum
Schedule: April 24 - June 30

One Hundred Scenes of Animals: From the Collection of the Edo Tokyo Museum (Tokyo Station Gallery)

This exhibition is an expansion of Living Beings: Life with Animals in Edo Tokyo, held at the Japan Cultural Institute in Paris in 2022. The exhibition focuses on the relationship between people and animals in the metropolis of Edo/Tokyo since the founding of the Edo Shogunate. Approximately 240 items from the Edo-Tokyo Museum's collection, including artworks and artifacts that tell this story, will be introduced.

Venue: Tokyo Station Gallery
Schedule: April 27 - June 23

Kyoko Hirano "A Life Dedicated to Painting" (Hiratsuka Museum of Art)

A full-scale retrospective exhibition of the Western-style painter Kyoko Hirano will be held at the Hiratsuka City Museum of Art. Hirano pioneered painting at a time when there were few women artists, and her studio attracted many painters and critics, playing a major role in the cultural promotion of Hiratsuka City. This exhibition looks back on her painting career over a period of 70 years with 60 representative works under the themes of 'primitive' and 'visionary.'

Venue: Hiratsuka Museum of Art
Schedule: April 6 - June 9

Kyotographie International Photography Festival 2024

KYOTOGRAPHIE is the 12th edition of the photography art festival featuring works of photographers from Japan and abroad. This year's theme is "Source," meaning the beginning and the origin. Thirteen exhibitions will be held in various locations in Kyoto, bringing together 13 artists from 10 countries.

Venue: Hachiku-an (Former Kawasaki Residence)
Schedule: April 13 - May 12

The Legend of Sesshu: Birth of a Master Painter (Kyoto National Museum)

Sesshu is celebrated as perhaps the most important painter in the history of Japanese art. The perception of his works is a complex phenomenon that can only be understood through multiple perspectives. This exhibition explores the myriad factors that, over time, elevated Sesshu to the highest echelons of the Japanese art world and established his status as a legendary master painter.

Venue: Kyoto National Museum
Schedule: April 13 - May 26

Tessai Tomioka "The Last Literati Painter (Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Artist’s Death)" (The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto)

Born into a Kyoto merchant family in the late Edo Period, Tessai Tomioka (1837–1924) was a highly accomplished painter whose work was underpinned by his profound knowledge. His paintings, which were produced by visiting scenic spots from north to south, were highly regarded not only by the townspeople of Kyoto and Osaka but also by the masters of the art world and the young painters of the new generation. This exhibition commemorates the 100th anniversary of Tessai's death and retraces his painting career and life through his representative works.

Venue: The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto
Schedule: April 2 - May 26

Friday Road Show and Ghibli Exhibition (Kyoto City Kyocera Museum of Art)

Since Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind was first broadcast in 1986, many Studio Ghibli films have been repeatedly broadcast on the Friday Road Show. In this exhibition, storyboards from almost all of Studio Ghibli's films, from Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984) to Arya and the Witch (2020), will be on display. Featured also are a poster studio where you can take photos as the main character and a space representing Nausicaa's Sea of Decomposition. As this exhibition requires advance reservations, visitors are advised to check the website in advance.

Venue: Kyoto City Kyocera Museum of Art
Schedule: April 12 - June 29
Reservation Required

AOMORI GOKAN Arts Fest 2024 (Aomori Prefercture)

The AOMORI GOKAN Arts Fest 2024 will be held for the first time in Aomori Prefecture, with 5 contemporary art museums and art centers in Aomori Prefecture: Aomori Museum of Art, Aomori Contemporary Art Centre, Aomori Public University, Hirosaki Museum of Contemporary Art, Hachinohe Art Museum, and Towada Art Center) playing a central role in the festival. The theme for 2024 is "Interweavers in Open Fields." The curators of each museum will work together to create a unique local festival.

Venue: Aomori Museum of Art, Aomori Contemporary Art Centre, Hirosaki Museum of Contemporary Art, Hachinohe Art Museum, and Towada Art Center
Schedule: April 13 - September 1

Yugo Asami

Yugo Asami

Born in Chiba in 1999. Intern at the Editorial Department of Tokyo Art Beat from 2021 to 2023. Graduate student at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Asa Ito Lab). Currently based in Paris.