Exhibition alert! ‘Souzou’ at the Wellcome Collection


If you were thinking “it’s high time I go and check out to a new exhibition in London”, you’ll be glad to know that the ‘Souzou’ exhibition will be coming to the Wellcome Collection next week and running until the end of June.

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Wellcome Collection’s spring exhibition, ‘Souzou: Outsider Art from Japan’, will bring together more than 300 works for the first major display of Japanese Outsider Art in the UK. The 46 artists represented in the show are residents and day patients at social welfare institutions across the main island of Honshu, and they present diverse bodies of work including ceramics, textiles, paintings, sculpture and drawings.

The exhibition is divided into six galleries, each exploring a different aspect of Outsider Art:

  • Language (artists’ efforts to overcome difficulties in communicating with others)
  • Making (unconventional materials, reused and repurposed)
  • Representation (the essence of people and things surrounding the artists)
  • Relationships (how artists depict themselves)
  • Culture (the artists’ keen awareness of their surroundings and wider cultural contexts)
  • Possibility (high levels of inventiveness in which new forms of creation are born)

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It is interesting to note that ‘Souzou’ has no direct translation in English, although it has two meanings in Japanese. ‘Creation’ or ‘imagination’ – both alluding to a force in which new ideas are born and take shape in the world.

‘Souzou’ has been organised in association with Het Dolhyus, the Museum of Psychiatry in the Netherlands, and the Social Welfare Organisation Aiseikai in Tokyo. ‘Outsider Art’, defined as works made by self-taught artists who are perceived as being on the margins of society. The exhibition will record the intimate experiences of its artists through material and representation, exploring themes such as ‘representation’ and ‘relationships’.

This certainly looks like it will be a unique exhibition and well worth a visit, whether you are an art lover, Japanophile or just curious. You can read more about the exhibition on the Wellcome Collection website – and you can expect another blog post on the event in a couple of weeks!

Photo credit: Wellcome Collection

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