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20th Century Rimpa: Ikko Tanaka

  • This exhibition was held in Kyoto as the city was celebrating the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Rimpa school of art. A total of 123 of Tanaka's works were selected from the DNP Graphic Design Archives Collection from various perspectives: their use of themes, techniques, colors and/or shapes akin to those favored by Rimpa, or for the designer's stance toward creativity. The works were arranged by category with sub-panels indicating their connections with Rimpa. In this way, the exhibition space provided visitors a clear understanding of how lkko Tanaka carried on the very essence of the Rimpa school.

  • ID


  • Exhibition Name

    20th Century Rimpa: Ikko Tanaka

  • Period

    August 18, 2015–October 29, 2015

  • Exhibition Type

    ddd exhibition

  • Venue

    ddd Uzumasa, Kyoto

  • Featured Designers

  • Poster Designers

  • Guest Contributor

  • Exhibition Design

  • August 18, 2015
    Lecture 1
    The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto

    Sadly, Yasuhiko Kida, who had been scheduled to participate, passed away just several days prior to the event. Mr. Kida had served as one of the advisers to this exhibition, and the portrait of Mr. Tanaka painted by him, displayed at ddd, was first introduced to the audience. With art historian Yuji Yamashita as moderator, Mr. Nagai introduced anecdotes from the days when he and Mr. Tanaka were both starting out as designers in Osaka. Kenjiro Sano related how, as a result of his overseeing the ddd exhibition's layout and publicity materials, he had come to know Mr. Tanaka's profundity. Mr. Yamashita, using numerous slides, elucidated how Mr. Tanaka had boldly absorbed the essence of representative works of the Rimpa school and "assimilated" it as part of his own creative being. Please note that one of the speaker ,Yasuhiko Kida not be able to attend the talk event, as he had passed away on August 13.

  • September 19, 2015
    Lecture 2
    The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto

    Mr. Yamashita, a professor at Meiji Gakuin University who specializes in the history of the medieval Japanese art, described how Mr. Tanaka made direct use of parts of Rimpa works and "assimilated" them into his own works: for example, his posters for the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo, "Japan" (1986), "Concert / Projection de films" (1997) and his series of Sankei Kanze Noh theater posters. Using numerous slides, Mr. Yamashita proceeded to explain how Mr. Tanaka further burnished this "assimilation" process in such works as "Ikko Tanaka Graphic Art Botanical Garden," "Music Today '85" (1985) and "NIHON BUYO" (1981), where he borrowed the subjects, techniques, colors, forms and creative stance seen in Rimpa. Finally, Mr. Yamashita elaborated on the remarkable simplicity and boldness of Mr. Tanaka's works, brilliantly composed only of geometric patters, straight lines and circles.

  • October 14, 2015
    Related Event: Open seminar "Tracking the Genius of Ikko Tanaka" at Kyoto City University of Arts (Visual Design course)
    Kyoto City University of Arts

    The three instructors explained Mr. Tanaka"s works from varying perspectives, adopting the form of a gallery tour. Mr. Fukuda, worked for Mr. Tanaka for a period of 10 years starting in 1989. Mr. Ito, as a member of the sales department of DNP, was in charge of business involving Mr. Tanaka's design office. Mr. Kusuda had various business dealings with Mr. Tanaka's office as an art director employed by Seibu Department Stores. All three instructors, having different experiences with Mr. Tanaka, offered extremely interesting anecdotes and insights into his creative genius.


Photographer: YOSHIDA Akihito

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