Imaginary Spaces and Urban Visions. Highlights of Japanese Animation 08/02/2013 – 18/05/2013

Kumu Art Museum
Adult: Kumu Art Museum
  • Family: Kumu Art Museum
  • Discount: Kumu Art Museum
  • Adult ticket with donation: Art Museum of Estonia
Kōji Morimoto. Võtmekaader animatsioonile „EXTRA”. 1995. © Studio 4°C, R&S Records and Sony Music

Imaginary Spaces and Urban Visions. Highlights of Japanese Animation

Location: 4th floor, B-wing

Since the success of Akira (1988) and Ghost in the Shell (1995), Japanese anime films have been among the milestones of global pop culture. Imaginary Spaces and Urban Visions. Highlights of Japanese Animation concentrates on drawings from the concept development and background images of some of the most influential science fiction anime productions from the 1990s, the heyday of the genre. The artists Hideaki Anno, Haruhiko Higami, Koji Morimoto, Hiromasa Ogura, Mamoru Oshii and Takashi Watabe all share an interest in real-kei, a form of science fiction anime involving realistic construction of possible world-views and convincing visions of future cities and landscapes. These artists have worked together in different constellations on major film projects, and have had a decisive influence on what we think of nowadays as the typical style of anime.

The artists in the exhibition belong to a generation that reached its peak at the time when anime was still almost exclusively drawn by hand. Although nowadays they use computer animation in all areas of production, their most important tools still include the layout table, paper, pencil and paintbrush.

The production of anime is a collaborative process involving concept developers, narrators, draughtsmen and animators. They usually work in a strictly organised and industrialised system in which the end product is more important than technical skill and perfection. Imaginary Spaces and Urban Visions attempts to look at the medium and its protagonists from a different perspective. Most of all, we are interested in the drawings that precede the cinematic image, because they reveal highly inventive and individual artistic achievement that is not immediately obvious from the picture on screen.

The drawings, storyboards and background paintings were created as part of the production process. None of the works was created for this type of presentation; in fact, most of them have never been shown publicly before. Imaginary Spaces and Urban Visions is the first exhibition and the first publication outside Japan that presents these works as what they are: testimonies to a kind of individual and highly inspirational artistic practice on the border of film, visual art and pop culture.

Project by: Les Jardins des Pilotes (Berlin) in cooperation with 2dk (Tokyo)
Curators: Stefan Riekeles and David d’Heilly
Co-producers: Obra Social Caja Madrid (Spain)

Participating artists:
Studio 4°C, Studio Khara, Ogura Koubo, Production I.G, Bandai Visual, Kodansha, Mori Building Co. Ltd., Rapid Eye Movies, R&S Records, Starz Media, Tohokushinsha Film Corporation, Universum Film

Special thanks:
Ryusuke Hikawa, Hideo Matsushita, Dai Sato, Toshio Yabe

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