The program of recent experimental animated films by students and graduates of the Concept and Media Planning at the Kyoto University of Arts was curated by Professor Yoshimasa Ishibashi, an artist and a lecturer at the University, as part of CZYNNIK LUDZKI/HUMAN ASPECT WRO 2019 Biennale.
Presented in two parts, the works innovatively employ multiple animation techniques, ranging from classical and cartoon animation, to computer and stop-motion animation, to collage and combinations of graphics with live film images. They feature watercolor landscapes, animated stones and sands, ephemeral chalk drawings and sculpture-like plasticine forms.
These techniques generate a visuality that straddles the intersection of Eastern and Western aesthetic frameworks. Manga shakes hands with films which could easily have been made in the golden years of experimental European animation in the 1960s and 70s. The works address universal issues, explore the themes of individual and collective human memory, and probe the role of myth as a factor that shapes our memories like the passage of time or family relations do.
Both parts of the program vividly and vibrantly represent the diversity of contemporary Japanese animation, highlighting the current trends espoused by the young Kyoto-based artists.
The show with the guest attendance of Setsuko Kawahara was organized in collaboration with the Kyoto City University of Arts and is yet another Japanese highlight of the WRO 2019 Biennale. Special thanks to EU-Japan Fest Committee for supporting the event.
19.09.2019 / Thu / 5 pm
Yuriko Sasaoka, Icarus’s Bride, 2015-2016 (7’42”)
Risako Matsumoto, Bright Narkissos, 2019 (11’00”)
Saaya Kaneko, I Have Loved Some and Hated Others, 2017 (7’35”)
Saki Suwahara, Bottled Hell, 2019 (about 10’00”)
TRT: 36 min.
20.09.2019 / Fri / 5 pm
Yuriko Sasaoka, Hello Holy!, 2017 (6’00”)
Saho Nanjo, Flower of Eden, 2019 (about 8’00”)
Setsuka Kawahara, Louisa and The Town of Iberis, 2019 (about 7’00”)
Kosuke Katakura, Anthem of NARAKU, 2018 (about 15’00”)
Alina Zhdanova, Favoritka, 2015 (5’35”)
TRT: 41 min.
In her animation Icarus’s Bride, Yuriko Sasaoka explores similarities of video art and oil painting. Her method of combining sequences of images of human body parts with shots of fragments of doll bodies which are manipulated on the stage brings to mind the old school of special effects. The story is told not only by the dolls, as the narrative is also sustained by the early 20th-century poem Hana-yome Ningyo, the artist’s own texts and the tune she composed herself.
In Hello Holy!, Sasaoka’s other work, the characters use an incomprehensible, fictional language invented by Sasaoka, who in this way inquires how far the video image as such can stir the viewer’s imagination.
In Bottled Hell, Saki Suwahara delves into the fear of losing memories of her mother. A similar theme of parental absence, though with the father as the missing figure, is tackled by Saho Nanjo in The Flower of Eden. By evoking the symbol of a red hibiscus, it conjures up memories of various emotional states which accompany the experience of being abandoned.
I Have Loved Some and Hated Others by Saaya Kaneko is an animation that tells about memories of places which are systematically transforming as a result of natural processes or human interference. Louisa and the Town of Iberis by Setsuko Kawahara stirs nostalgia with its vivid story about growing up, dreams and utopian representations of the future in a large city, while The Anthem of Naraku by Kosuke Katakura dwells on the disappointment with the future. Its protagonist, Naraku, who sells lottery tickets to children, only offers them disenchantment, that is, “true hope.” Katakura examines differences between hope and a speculative reality which people can experience. In her Favoritka, Alina Zhdanova employs heterogeneous materials and techniques to express her experiences, memories, and physical bodiliness. Her work combines feminist reflection with insights into human existence. For its part, Bright Nakrissos by Risako Matsumoto looks into the search for and preservation of one’s own identity, choices made under social pressure, and the price one has to pay for self-acceptance.