Exhibition: Beyond the Future – Modern Japanese Calligraphy (Weltmuseum Wien)

Date of event:   30/03/2023 − 09/01/2024

Title: Beyond the Future: Modern Japanese Calligraphy
Duration: 30 March 2023 to 9 January 2024
Institution: Weltmuseum Wien, Vienna, Austria

On the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the calligraphy group Keiseikai in 2020, artists planned a memorial exhibition under the motto ‘Japanese calligraphers dedicated to Vienna’, which had to be postponed due to Covid-19. The artists paid tribute to Austria’s generous support in 2011, when eastern Japan was hit by a major earthquake that caused the nuclear disaster of Fukushima.

The exhibition was co-financed by the daily newspaper Mainichi Shinbun and the Mainichi Calligraphy Society. It features 61 works of art that have already entered into the collection of Weltmuseum Wien. The exhibits represent various calligraphic forms of expression, such as the Chinese kanji characters, the kana syllabary, the poetic written form of shibunsho, the tenkoku stone seal stamps, or the carved kokuji symbols.

Calligraphy is considered one of the fine arts in East Asia, where it is held in high esteem. It is not a coincidence that paper, brush, ink, and ink stone are called the Four Treasures of the Scholar’s Studio.

The history of calligraphy dates to the Bronze Age. In China, in the course of several millennia, early pictograms evolved into traditional writing styles, such as standard and cursive styles or seal script, all of which ultimately ended up in Korea and Japan. The introduction of Buddhism and Confucian teachings stimulated calligraphy and its various styles in Japan, resulting in the development of additional syllabic writing systems.

This exhibition presents a contemporary expression of avant-garde calligraphy, characterized by its fluent transition from script to art. In calligraphy body and mind form a whole. Style and dynamics translate from arm and hand to paper.

For more information, please visit the website here.

Image: Himmel über dem Turm zu Babel, Kalligraphie, VO_194024 © KHM-Museumsverband, Weltmuseum Wien.