Modernisation of Calligraphy in East Asia

Researcher: Eugenia Bogdanova-Kummer Calligraphy is often associated with the traditional Sinocentric cultural order in East Asia. Created in China and imported to the neighbouring countries, characters and calligraphy as their aesthetic manifestation served as a common cultural denominator for the region, placing China in the centre of East Asia’s cultural flows. However, with Japan’s rapid transformation following the Meiji reforms of the late nineteenth century and its reorientation towards Europe and the United States, this cultural order and calligraphy’s privileged position within it became contested. This project investigates the complex processes of modernisation of calligraphy in East Asia from the late nineteenth century until the end of the Pacific War. It […]

Postwar Calligraphy and Abstract Painting

Researcher: Eugenia Bogdanova-Kummer A prominent French critic of abstract art Michel Seuphor wrote in 1962 that “in the 1960s, every abstract painter is fascinated by the East, dreams of visiting Japan, perhaps to find the delights of Japanese calligraphy.”* In the 1950s and 60s calligraphy from Japan was in the vanguard of international art, and Japanese avant-garde calligraphers successfully competed with European and American abstractionists for the attention of art critics and audiences worldwide. Calligraphers including Morita Shiryū, Inoue Yūichi, Hidai Nankoku, Ueda Sōkyū or Teshima Yūkei exhibited side-by-side with European and American abstractionists, such as Jackson Pollock, Pierre Soulages, Hans Hartung, Franz Kline, or Isamu Noguchi. The unprecedented postwar heyday […]

Gardens and the Memory of Asia Pacific War

Researchers: Toshio Watanabe This project forms part of a larger investigation of transnational Japanese gardens. This focuses on gardens which deal with the memory of the Asia Pacific War both in Japan and elsewhere. Gardens which are not in a Japanese style will be included. A key component of this project will be how this space is actually being used and what meanings are created. Therefore, not only how the gardens came to be created, but also how they are being maintained, who visits them and what kind of activities are performed there, will be examined. Key outputs

East Asian Art History in a Transnational Context

Researchers: Eriko Tomizawa-Kay Toshio Watanabe This project aims to give insight into the changing boundaries and concepts of ‘art’ in Japan and East Asia through exploring the exchanges and dialogues that took place among the artists of Japan and other East Asian nations. The birth of East Asian art history could not have occurred without the symbiotic relationships among various groups of artists. The project unpacks the existing geographic, temporal, and generic paradigms that currently frame the art history of East Asia. What was the relationship between artistic production and political discourse? What role did abiding cultural legacies play in the artistic development of East Asia at large. Questions relating to […]