Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

Manga! Japanese Images

08 Oct 2008 - 08 Feb 2009


8/10 08 - 8/2 09

The Japanese comic-book phenomenon manga has a fascinating global appeal today, with millions of comic books sold month after month. In the exhibition Manga! Japanese Images, the Louisiana builds on this fascination and at the same time highlights the art-historical and cultural context.

Nowadays ‘manga’ is quite simply the word for comic-book. Manga has a huge spectrum and ranges over subjects like war and love, eroticism and mythology, science fiction and everyday life. It is therefore a cultural power factor that interests all ages and population groups.

Manga has its roots two centuries ago. It was originally the famous painter Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) who called his drawn portrait sketches manga. But there has also been a tradition of showing caricatures in Japanese woodcuts. They were printed in mass editions to be distributed widely for example as advertisements for theatres – so the tradition of mass-producing popular stories in pictures already existed long before the comic books we know today.
As was the case with Walt Disney and Pop Art in the USA, manga also became part of the breakthrough of modernism in the 1930s and again in the 1950s.

Contemporary art
The Louisiana's manga-exhibition also shows how Japanese contemporary art relates to the phenomenon manga. A special part of the exhibition is therefore reserved for works by some of Japan’s most promising artists in recent years – Kenji Yanobe, Kumi Machida and Tabaimo.

In this part of the exhibition the focus is on manga’s origins and relation to general Japanese visual culture and its historical background in Japanese visual art. The three contemporary artists represented explore a culture and history that range from traditional rituals and a distinctive visual legacy to the post-war – and post-atom-bomb – period’s technological advances.

Animé programme
The Animé film is manga’s animated counterpart, and the exhibition includes an independent film programme with some of the most interesting animé productions. The films in the programme have been selected in collaboration with the Danish Film Institute.

Reading corner and computer games
As a part of the exhibition a ‘reading corner’ has been built with both original Japanese mangas and examples of the growing production of Japanese mangas in Danish translation. The books are generously made available by the Danish publisher Carlsen Comics. the Tuttle-Mori Agency Ltd. and Shueisha Inc.

In the reading corner – and in the last room of the exhibition – there is also a chance to play manga computer games.

The exhibition has been mounted in collaboration with Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Deutsches Filminstitut – DIF and Deutsches Filmmuseum, Frankfurt.

Tags: Tabaimo, Kenji Yanobe