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Celebrating the newly reopened Toshiba Gallery of Japanese Art, May’s Friday Late at the Victoria and Albert Museum will explore the art, design, sounds and nuances of Japan on 27th May with Neo Nipponica.

Celebrating the newly reopened Toshiba Gallery of Japanese Art, May’s Friday Late at the Victoria and Albert Museum will explore the art, design, sounds and nuances of Japan on 27th May with Neo Nipponica.

V&A Friday Lates, which began in 1999, always inspire and provoke, challenging convention whilst encouraging audiences to interact with the Museum’s collections in new ways. All aspects of contemporary visual culture and design in society are represented, bringing us face-to-face with leading and emerging artists and designers.

Friday Late (c) Victoria and Albert Museum, London (5)

On 27th May, from 18:30 to 22:00 hours, there will be a psychedelic underground live show with Bo Ningen’s DJ Set and some wild performance art by the Frank Chickens at the Grand Entrance. At The John Madejsky Garden, Howard Williams of Japan Blues will play sounds from Japanese music, from 50s rock’n’roll to 80s disco.

Embrace Japanese tradition with calligrapher Rie Takeda of Atelier Neo-Japonism and join Subversive Shodō to practise the Japanese art of calligraphy. Visit the Saké Bar, specially designed by Soho and Co, drink from a honeycomb paper concertina to enjoy this drink that has been central to Japanese culture for centuries; served to the gods and drunk on festive occasions. Visit Toru Ishii’s Competitive Society exhibition of textile hangings, using the centuries-old Japanese craft technique of itome yuzen, a form of rice paste resist-dyeing, where the artist explores the stresses of contemporary capitalist society with a keen sense of humour.

Friday Late (c) Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2)

Let your imagination be stimulated by the exotic images, atmospheres and stories of Masayoshi Fujita’s music, inspired by the silence and deepness of the fog, mountains and gravity. And learn about kōdō (the way of fragrance), which is the Japanese art of appreciating scent. It may seem to be all about the sense of smell, but the secret of kōdō is actually listening. Instead of smelling, you are encouraged to listen to the scent, opening up your heart and spirit, as well as your nasal passages. Artist Kentaro Yamada and perfumer Euan McCall invite you to The Sound of Scent; a narrative with scents, sound, story and experiences.

Believe it or not, you can also make a plant sing, or create a piano from aluminium foil with Ototo; just connect anything conductive to Ototo using alligator clips, and your touch will turn into sound: Learn how technology can mediate face-to-face communications across language barriers with Yosuke Ushigome and Jacob Jelen of design studio TAKRAM Germination; wear the imaginary helmet and become an omotenashi (faceless) person, where your speech is transformed into the recipient’s local language.

Friday Late 03, (c) Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Observe a sculptoric interpretation of the wreckage of capitalism, created by Keita Miyazaki using scraps of Japan’s industrial past, such as car parts and speakers. Admire Transflora – Amy’s Glowing Silk, made with Nishijin Kimono material using genetically engineered silk, developed by scientists at the National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences; Sputniko!’s Tranceflora combines traditional craftsmanship with advanced technology to mesmerising effect. The luminous silk is created by adding the genes of glowing jellyfish and coral to silkworms, it is then woven by master weavers at HOSOO textiles, Nishijin, Kyoto, and fashioned into a dress designed by Masaya Kushino. 

And that’s not all; it’s just part of the endlessly exciting programme of live performances, film, installation, debate and late-night exhibition opening to celebrate Japan, a nation known both for its futuristic focus and reverence for tradition.

Neo Nipponica has been supported by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation. The programme cover was designed by Land Ahoy . For more info and the full programme:
Victoria and Albert Museum
Cromwell Rd
London SW7 2RL


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