Kaiji Moriyama. Photo: © ISAMU UEHARA

An unexpected treat awaits visitors to Paris this year as France marks 160 years of diplomatic relations with Japan with a sweeping celebration of the rich diversity of Japanese art. The cultural handshake known as Japonismes 2018 offers exhibitions and performances ranging in scope from the work of the Jõmon period, considered to be the very origin of Japanese culture, to the very latest in contemporary media.

All manner of art exhibitions, performances, workshops and special events are planned in over 100 venues across an 8-month period, to take visitors on a thrilling journey across the myriad manifestations of Japanese culture, including opportunities to experience food festivals and gourmet pleasures like saké and tea.

Kohei Nawa, Throne, under the pyramid in the Louvre Museum ©Sylvia Edwards Davis

The sights and sounds of contemporary Japan are also very present, as in the monumental sculpture by artist Kohei Nawa displayed under the Pyramid of the Musée du Louvre. Nawa has created his huge floating ‘throne’ as an expression of his sense that ‘information technology and artificial intelligence will eventually take place of the ultimate forces that lie behind politics and the economy’. The inspiration for the throne is said to have come from the floats often found in religious ceremonies and festival in Asia. Merging 3D modeling with traditional gold leaf, the piece invites us to ‘consider the legacy of the systems of power and authority that have been a ceaseless presence since the beginning of civilization’.

Don’t miss the Bouddhas de Nara exhibition at the Musée Guimet, usually only available to those who travel to the temple in the ancient city which became the foundation of Japanese culture as the terminal point of the Silk Road, this is a rare opportunity to experience the awesome beauty of these Buddhist figures, which have been venerated for centuries. Then there’s Foujita at the Maison de la Culture du Japon, and Gagaku by the Reigakusha ensemble with world-acclaimed phenomenon Kaiji Moriyama (pictured) at the Philharmonie de Paris and too many extraordinary events to mention here as part of an incredible effort to offer a rich program of events to showcase Japan and the many facets of its arts, culture and gastronomy.

Quite a special cerise sur le gâteau if you happen to be in Paris this cultural season.

Until February 2019
www.japonismes.org

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