By WM November, 2021
Compared with artists in neighboring Asian countries, Japanese artists, it is often said, tend to cultivate their creativity within a closed (and relatively smaller) ecosystem. Working under social oppression and stagnation, Japanese artists have developed distinctive art scenes across the country.
While Japanese contemporary art—especially from the post-war period—has attracted attention around the world and has been researched and contextualized within global art history and international exhibitions, it seems that the recent narratives are still limited. The spotlight is frequently placed on only six “star artists”— Yayoi Kusama, Lee Ufan, Tatsuo Miyajima, Takashi Murakami, Yoshitomo Nara and Hiroshi Sugimoto —who are successful internationally (and are currently celebrated in a a show at Mori Art Museum in Tokyo). Therefore, the following list, while still failing to cover many prominent artistic practices, is intended to sketch out divergent Japanese streams of contemporary art. WM