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Japan Supernatural

AJF Priority Area: Society and Culture

Country location: Australia

Grantee: Art Gallery of NSW

Painting of a spider and a man
Tsukioka Yoshitoshi Minamoto no Yorimitsu preparing to kill the Earth spider 1892 (Credit: © Art Gallery of New South Wales)

Project description

A world-first exhibition curated and presented by the Art Gallery of NSW, Japan supernatural will feature over 180 wildly imaginative works of art by Japanese artists past and present from 1700s to now.

Through extraordinary images from collections worldwide and the Gallery's own rich holdings, Japan supernatural introduces an astonishing visual array of phenomenal beings from fiendish goblins through to mischievous shapeshifters. The AGNSW invites visitors to come face to face with these mysterious creatures in an immersive environment featuring large-scale installations alongside miniature carvings, humorous paintings and the vibrant ukiyo-e woodblock prints that define the tradition of the supernatural in Japanese art.

Centred on a monumental installation of painting and sculpture by Takashi Murakami, the exhibition features some of the greatest Japanese artists of the past including Katsushika Hokusai, Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi and Kawanabe Kyosai, alongside contemporary artists Chiho Aoshima, Fuyuko Matsui and Miwa Yanagi who update the tradition for our times.

Exclusive to AGNSW, the Japan supernatural exhibition will be supported by a rich and vibrant public programs schedule and a new publication of original scholarship.

Key dates

Book (catalogue) launch AGNSW, Sydney, 01/11/2019

Opening Event of Exhibition, AGNSW, Sydney, 01/11/2019

Public talk: Takashi Murakami, AGNSW, Sydney, 01/11/2019

Social media:,, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (@artgalleryofnsw),

Australia-Japan Foundation grant: $20,000

Last Updated: 11 September 2019
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