Souzou (miss­ing images from Wellcome Collec­tion)

Published Categorised as Art & Design 2 Comments on Souzou (miss­ing images from Wellcome Collec­tion)

At the moment at the Wellcome Collec­tion they have a free exhib­i­tion of outsider art from Japan. All of the artists live in assisted living facil­it­ies, and most of them create their artwork as part of art ther­apy classes.

I used to get a really good outsider art magazine from Borders, but I only managed to buy a few issues before Borders went bust, and I’ve never seen it stocked anywhere else. There’s some­thing fascin­at­ing and inspir­ing about how the artists are completely in their own world, making the art just because they want to do it, and feel driv­en to create that specif­ic thing. The work in this exhib­i­tion was strong in its own merits, it didn’t feel like you were gawp­ing at the inmates like some Victori­an tour of Bedlam. (Songs in the Key of Z is an equally fascin­at­ing book about outsider music.) I went to art college, so you can say I’m an insider, and it’s always nice to be paid for creat­ing things, but I can’t say I feel entirely at home with the more money-orient­ated side of the art world, and I utterly despise the likes of Dami­en Hirst.

The photos come from the Wellcome Collec­tion website, because photo­graphy wasn’t allowed.


I went to the exhib­i­tion twice, once with Ellina, and the second time with Melanie and Christina. Ellina was very struck with these hundreds of tiny men made out of wire bag ties by Shota Katsube. All of them were differ­ent, and if you put your head down at the level of the glass in the display case, their reflec­tions multi­plied in the glass to create thou­sands of them. It made E want to create some­thing in huge volumes, piles and piles of small somethings.

These maps by Norim­itsu Kokubo were my favour­ite. At first glance I thought they were embroid­er­ies, but actu­ally they’re pen draw­ings, roughly 3-4m long. I like the way the build­ings are rotated towards the roads. It gives me ideas. Also, now I want to make some­thing really enorm­ous. Watch this space. Well, at least, don’t watch it too intently because it might take me a while.

M had recently been on a glass­blow­ing course, and these lions by Ryosuke Otsuji made her want to try her hand at ceram­ics.

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