Universal Nature -Rediscovery of Kalevala by 6 Contemporary Japanese Artists-

Thank you so much for coming to the Exhibition “Universal Nature Rediscovery of kalevala”!

Opening Reception/ August 5. 2017 @ Sezon Arts Gallery in Tokyo, Japan



The Universal Nature – Rediscovery of Kalevala by 6 Contemporary Japanese Artists exhibition presents the Finnish national epic Kalevala in a new way: from the Japanese point of view and in the form of contemporary art by six renowned Japanese artists. Their work will be on show for the first time, representing the artists individual interpretations of Finnish folklore and the Finnish mentality.

The artists tell the story of Kalevala through many different art forms and genres. The exhibition brings together painting, photography, sculpting, video and installation art. The artists work reflect both Finnish mysticism and the Japanese way of thinking.

Yusuke Asai, a painter who often works with big murals and local soil as painting material will produce paintings on canvas and drawings based on the stories of Kalevala. Sculptor Hideki Iinuma depicts strong female characters in his works. Iinuma brings the mythical female characters of Kalevala into the modern world with them coming alive in his sculptures. Tomoko Konoike deals with the theme of human brutality in her work. Her work reflect raw human emotions such as lust, hatred and the violent nature of man. Shiriagari Kotobuki has developed a video installation using a technique of Manga as storytelling. His work explores the story of the mysterious tool “Sampo” which in Kalevala brings happiness. Yuji Ohta combines truth and fiction, ancient and modern in his installations. His works aim at redefining the way we see the social structures we are surrounded by. New York based photographer Ayumi Tanaka has studied the descendants of the residents who Elias Lönnrot visited to compile Kalevala in the 19th century. She then has collected the village inhabitant’s personal stories based on their dreams and develops them into photographic art works, trying to weave another oral narrative.

The exhibition is part of the Artist’s Kalevala in Japan project, started by The Kalevala Society and The Finnish Institute in Japan in 2016. The exhibition on view at Sezon Art Gallery is curated by Kenji Kubota. The aim is to broaden the way we interpret mythology and folklore, and to promote mutual cultural understanding and artistic co-operation between Finland and Japan.

The Universal Nature exhibition will be on display at SEZON gallery in Jingumae, Tokyo, from August 6th to 27th. The exhibition is FREE.

2017.08.06 sun – 08.27 sun

Yusuke ASAI
Hideki Iinuma
Shiriagari Kotobuki


Organisers: The Kalevala Society and The Finnish Institute in Japan
Co-organizer: Sezon Art Gallery
Nominal support: Embassy of Finland
Support: Kenji Kubota Art Office




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