Making a Splash:
In Conversation with WAVE Curators Hiro Sugiyama and Takahashi Kintarō

「波(WAVE)」をおこす 展覧会キュレーター ヒロ杉山と高橋キンタローとの対談

Watch a recording of the event in the player above.

Revel in the riotous diversity of Japanese graphics arts and illustration with a panel discussion celebrating the opening of Japan House London’s new exhibition WAVE: Currents in Japanese Graphic Arts.

Artists and co-curators Hiro Sugiyama and Takahashi Kintarō discuss their approach to the curation of the exhibition in conversation with Japan House London Director General Sam Thorne. WAVE is based on an annual art exhibition of the same name, first held in 2018 at 3331 Arts Chiyoda in Tokyo and also curated by Sugiyama and Takahashi. The Japan House London iteration brings together a selection of 60 Japan-based artists, from late-20th century innovators Tanaami Keiichi and Yumura Teruhiko to several emerging artists whose works are being exhibited for the first time in the UK.

The kaleidoscopic presentation includes elements of pop art, comics, photorealism, surrealism, as well as the concept of heta-uma (‘bad, but good’), a kind of ‘anti-illustration’ which calls into question established ideas of good taste and technical skill. However, the selected works cannot be solely defined by these artistic categories. Instead, the curators seek to present the true state of Japanese graphic art and illustration, unbound by genre, and generation, inviting guests to delight in the chaos, colour and creativity of the eclectic works on display.

The exhibition WAVE: Currents in Japanese Graphic Arts is on display in the Gallery at Japan House London from 6 June until 22 October.  

About the speaker

Hiro Sugiyama  

Co-curator of the WAVE exhibition at Japan House London and organizer of the WAVE exhibitions at 3331 Arts Chiyoda (2018–2022), Sugiyama is an artist and art director. In 1997, he was a central figure in the establishment of the creative collective Enlightenment. His work is exhibited in fine art shows worldwide, and he also curates exhibitions himself, publishes free newspapers and art books, and continues to produce original work in the fields of graphic design and advertising. He is highly regarded in the field of moving images, such as music videos and VJing, and his broader creative pursuits further extend into three-dimensional works and spatial productions. He has been an active VJ since 1994, performing with big-name artists around the globe, and appearing on the bill at major festivals, parties and art shows in many countries. Recent work includes joining m-flo’s COSMICOLOR and Ōsawa Shinichi’s THE ONE tours as VJ, and providing live footage for AMURO Namie, BOA, MEG and others.

Takahashi Kintarō 

Co-curator of the WAVE exhibition at Japan House London and organizer of the WAVE exhibitions at 3331 Arts Chiyoda (2018–2022), Takahashi has worked as a freelance illustrator and art director since graduating from the Department of Graphic Design at Tama Art University.  His work ranges from illustration (commercial advertisements for print and screen, displays, fashion, etc.) through to animated films for children. In the 1980s and 1990s, he also worked under the name HIT STUDIO as an art director for Takarajima and other culture and fashion magazines. Takahashi is involved in event and exhibition curation, and publication planning, as well as helping to coordinate concerts by several internationally known musicians, while performing himself as a member of the art-oriented noise band OBANDOS.  More recently, he supervised the exhibition 70 CREATORS’ SEVEN at Parco Museum and acted as general editor for the associated book (pub. Genkōsha), alongside planning & directing the exhibition CONTEMPORARY CHIC at the Hankyū Umeda gallery.