Exploring the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto, Japan
Arielle October 16, 2018
When you’re planning your trip to Kyoto the initial thought is to visit all the shrines and historical museums, which of course, are definitely worth a visit. But also, because of this, Japan’s contemporary culture is overlooked when thinking of Kyoto. So why not change the itinerary a bit? Take a day to immerse yourself in the country’s modern times and artworks. Kyoto’s National Museum of Modern Art offers a wide range of different artworks and is definitely a breath of fresh air. Being a fan of museums myself, I decided to explore the place and I was surely glad I did. There are two different displays in the museum on two separate floors. The third floor has the Exhibition Gallery. It’s a special exhibit which changes around five times in a year and usually has a distinct theme or artist. The fourth floor holds the Collection Gallery. This also changes around five times in a year and displays the museum’s own collection of artworks. On this floor there is a rest area where you can view the outside scenery as well as get a good look at the large Torii (a traditional Japanese gate) right in front of the museum. When I visited the museum, they were showcasing works of Koji Kinutani in the Exhibition Gallery, and I was completely in awe. The pieces were unique, amazing, and fresh. They were expressive, loud, a stark contrast to Japan’s traditional, delicate art. There was even a video exhibition by Koji Kinutani which really pulls you in. It gave me more insight on why he had recurring themes in his paintings. People always say that art imitates life and that it shows the merging of an artist’s reality and imagination. This was a great way to take a look into how Japan’s artists see modern life and yet heavily incorporate their culture and history into new styles. On the fourth floor where the Collection Gallery was, I saw a wide range of artworks. There were also older pieces dating back to 1911. It was intriguing to see these traditional paintings and sketches in comparison to the modern ones. You could see where the contemporary artists drew their inspiration from and still keep true to their culture and certain styles. All-in-all, the museum was memorable and so many of the pieces were inspiring and beautiful.