Private Exhibition at 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa

Koji Kakinuma – Exploring



Saturday, November 23, 2013 –
Sunday, March 2, 2014

10:00 – 18:00 (until 20:00 on Fridays and Saturdays)

Note: Tickets available until
30 minutes before closing

Closed: Mondays (open on
December 23, January 13, and February 10) and December 24, December 29 –
January 1, January 14



21st Century Museum of
Contemporary Art, Kanazawa (Galleries 1-6,14)


Organized by

21st Century Museum of
Contemporary Art, Kanazawa (Kanazawa Art Promotion and Development Foundation)


About the Exhibition

Calligrapher Koji Kakinuma—born in 1970, lives and works
in Tokyo. At five years old he took up the brush, first under father, Suiryu
Kakinuma, and later Yukei Teshima and Ichijo Uematsu. Asking “Is Shodo art? Am
I an artist?” Kakinuma has continually pushed the boundaries of Shodo, the
Japanese art of calligraphy.

Kakinuma brings to Shodo a contemporary vision grounded
in tradition. He probes the principle of calligraphy in an endeavor to see
calligraphy as a contemporary art form. “Inhale, exhale—use the brush freely!”
is the figure of calligraphy he aspires to.

Kakinuma’s expressive style takes many forms. “Rinsho”
(brushing after a model) is a platform for dialogue with master calligraphers
and people of the ancient past. “Encounters”—an offshoot of Rinsho—are his
interpretations of others’ words in the Kakinuma style. His “super-large-scale
works” are pictorial investigations using charcoal ink. Then, there is
“performance,” where he shares the creative process with an audience,
“trancework”—countless repetitions of simple, powerful phrases, and
“installations” that give temporal and spatial development to calligraphy on
grand scale.

The calligraphy of Koji Kakinuma is thus an “art of
today” that draws from calligraphy, contemporary art, and sub-culture. It is
calligraphy of hope that looks to tomorrow. It is calligraphy of possibility,
free and open to the future. This exhibition will present the world of Koji
Kakinuma through some 700 of his foremost works.

Exhibition Curator: AKIMOTO Yuji

Director, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art,


Exhibition Features


The power of Shodo through the work of Koji
Kakinuma—today’s most sought-after contemporary calligrapher

Koji Kakinuma, a contemporary calligrapher who creates
with a clear eye on the present, is known to have a particularly strong
awareness of history. Through Kakinuma’s works, the exhibition will show “what Shodo is” and
demonstrate Shodo’s power and appeal as a contemporary mode of expression.

Shodo starts from an awareness of the impermanence of
time and space. The calligrapher reflects this awareness in the act of brush
writing. There is, in
other words, no re-writing in Shodo. The calligrapher tirelessly brushes sheet
after sheet until “heart, technique and body” become one and—in a specific,
resonant moment—take manifestation in a Shodo work.

Shodo differs from painting in how the artist regards
the concept of time. In contrast to painting, where the painter repeatedly
returns to the picture to add and revise, a work of Shodo is created in a
single effort—on the basis of the Eternal Now. Shodo emphasizes the artist’s
mind and physical being as a matter of course. It is a high-level mental
activity and, simultaneously, a controlled physical activity. Koji Kakinuma’s
brush writing arises from stoic attitudes. He communicates his physical command
powerfully in large-scale works, tranceworks, and Shodo installations.
Disciplining his body and fostering a martial spirit, the calligrapher evokes
the Eternal Now and focuses on the “here and now.” This is the true allure of
Shodo. Entering a moment of no return, he captures a fleeting space and time in
charcoal ink. His brush strokes, at times coming slowly and at times with
lightning speed, are like the playing field for a one shot, winner-take-all


Another side of Shodo—the enjoyment of reading

Shodo, the art of writing characters, has been practiced
for many centuries. While an “art of the moment,” Shodo has a profound
connection to history—something we feel deeply when reading the brush writings
of people of the past. Koji Kakinuma has always practiced Rinsho (brushing
after a model). Likening his own calligraphy to breathing, he exclaims—“Inhale,
exhale, use the brush freely!” Rinsho—an encounter with another person’s
words—is for Kakinuma an opportunity for learning, an experience of history,
and an act of communicating with others. Through brush-written words of many
kinds that transcend the ages, we have occasion to look at ourselves. Those
words sometimes give us courage and a direction for living. The Shodo of Koji
Kakinuma helps us to feel the power of words in a fresh way.


The entire scope of Kakinuma’s calligraphic works, from
the late ‘90s to his most recent efforts, including large-scale works and

Featured will be more than nine of Kakinuma’s foremost
works from the ‘90s, early in his career, to the present—including new works
brushed especially for the museum’s spaces. Works will be displayed in
Galleries 1-6 and 14 under a different theme in each gallery. The galleries
will form a total viewing experience, within which Koji Kakinuma’s world will
dramatically unfold.

Gallery 1 will offer the work Pa— quoted from the
Okamoto Taro essay, Geijutsu ha bakuhatsu da (“Art is an Explosion,”
Okamoto Taro no Hanga Geijustu, 1992) as well as an early period work, Ichi, considered to be the inception of the Kakinuma style. Gallery 2 will
display works born from Kakinuma’s dialogue with predecessors and
contemporaries, and Gallery 4 will feature large-scale works such as his 1998 Men
(3.6 x 4.8m) and Kuu (3.6 x 7.2m).

In Gallery 6, Kakinuma will employ Phoenix and
other major works in creating an installation—a foray into experimental Shodo.
From Koji Kakinuma’s encounter with this museum’s spaces, a new world of Shodo
will emerge.


Related Events

Artist Talk    *Japanese language only

Date/time: Saturday (holiday), November 23, 2013

Venue: Lecture Hall, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa

Admission: No charge (with same-day ticket to this exhibition)

Capacity: First 70 arrivals (prior application required)

Application: Applications will be
taken on our website from 10am on Tuesday, October 22 on a first-come
first-served basis (

* Changes in planning are apt to occur. Please consult
the Museum’s website for the most recent schedule information.



Koji Kakinuma Sho no Michi ‘Pa— ’

A catalogue featuring the artist’s works and exhibition scenes.

Essays: NAGOYA Akira (Chief Curator, The Gotoh Museum),
AKIMOTO Yuji (Director, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa)

Publication: My Book Service Co.

Design: Tokyo Pistol Co., LTD.

Price: 2,500 (tax inc.)

Scheduled release: January 2, 2014

* Changes in planning are apt to occur. We ask your
understanding. .


About the Artist

Born in Yaita, Tochigi prefecture in 1970. Took up the
brush at five and studied under Suiryu Kakinuma (father), Yukei Teshima, and
Ichijo Uematsu. Graduated from the Department of Visual and Performing Arts, Tokyo
Gakugei University. In 2006-2007,
worked at Princeton University as a visiting calligrapher.

Asking “Is Shodo art? Am I an artist?” Kakinuma has
created a highly individual style, enabled by his command of traditional Shodo
skills and avant-garde spirit. He is credited both in Japan and internationally
with transcending the framework of calligraphy to create a new form of
contemporary art.

His numerous awards include the Higashi Kuninomiya Prize
in spring 2012, the 1st Yaita City Citizens Prize, the 4th Yukei Teshima Prize,
the Dokuritsu Shotensen Prize, the Dokuritsu Shojindan 50th Memorial Award, and
The Mainichi Calligraphy Exhibition Award (twice). He has executed the title
artwork for the 2007 NHK Taiga Drama “The Warrior Ideal (Furin Kazan),” Kitano
Takeshi’s movie “Achilles and the Tortoise,” and Kadokawa Pictures movie “Saigo
no Chushingura,” as well as the gate nameplates for Kyushu University and
Kyushu University Hospital. He has been featured in such programs as “NHK
Top Runner,” “Shumi Doraku,” “Yokoso Senpai Kagai Jugyo,” “Studio Park,” MBS
“The Passionate Land,” NTV “Rock You,” and a Bose TV commercial.

Kakinuma’s performances range from traditional
calligraphy to dynamic large-scale works, using large brushes, and tranceworks. He has
won international acclaim at the New York MET, Kennedy Center (Washington DC),
Philadelphia Museum of Arts, London County Hall, and KODO Earth Celebration. He
is currently president and a registered artist/calligrapher of Office Kakinuma




Back to list


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Koji Kakinuma Exhibition

2018/9/6 Thursday

Art Central Hong Kong 2018

2018/3/15 Thursday

Sunshine Museum Exhibition

2008/9/25 Thursday

World Cultural Forum 2007

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2007/3/4 Sunday

Performace: TYGERS

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