TOKYO STATION GALLERY

Current Exhibition

Chihiro Iwasaki, Painter

Saturday, July 14 - Sunday, September 9, 2018

Girl and Bindweeds; the mid-1950s; Chihiro Art Museum

Girl and Bindweeds; the mid-1950s; Chihiro Art Museum

With the family (left edge, Chihiro); 1928; Chihiro Art Museum

With the family (left edge, Chihiro); 1928; Chihiro Art Museum

Advertisement of HIGETA SHOYU; the early 1950s; Chihiro Art Museum

Advertisement of HIGETA SHOYU; the early 1950s; Chihiro Art Museum

The Girl Watching the Moving Van “Will You Be My Friend?” (SHIKO-SHA); 1970; Chihiro Art Museum

The Girl Watching the Moving Van “Will You Be My Friend?” (SHIKO-SHA); 1970; Chihiro Art Museum

Puppy and Children on a Rainy Day; 1967; Chihiro Art Museum

Puppy and Children on a Rainy Day; 1967; Chihiro Art Museum

[Closed]
Mondays (except July 16, August 13 and September 3) and on Tuesday July 17
[Open Hours]
10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
*Fridays: Until 8:00 p.m.
*Last admission 30 minutes before closing
[Admission Fee]
Adults (at the door): 1,000 yen,
high school and university students (at the door): 800 yen
Adults (advance ticket): 800 yen,
high school and university students (advance ticket): 600 yen
*Junior high school students and younger: Free.
*For groups of 20 or more, admission fees are 800 yen for adults and 600 yen for high school and university students.
*Persons with a disability certificate or similar receive a 100 yen discount on tickets purchased at the door, and one accompanying helper is admitted free.

[Ticket Sales]
Tokyo Station Gallery (Up until 30 minutes before the gallery closes)
Lawson Ticket (L-Code 37888), E Plus, CN Playguide and Seven Ticket
*Advance tickets are on sale from May 19 to July 13, 2018.
*Advance tickets are on sale at the Tokyo Station Gallery reception desk until July 1, on days when the gallery is open.
[Organized by]
Tokyo Station Gallery (East Japan Railway Culture Foundation), Nikkei Inc., Chihiro Art Museum
[Co-sponsored by]
Nozaki Insatsu Shigyo Co., Ltd.

2018 marks the centenary of Chihiro Iwasaki's birth. (She was born in 1918 and died in 1974.) Her illustrations feature soft-focus colourful pictures of children and flowers and expanses of open space. Her art has penetrated deep into our daily lives through media such as picture books, illustrations and calendars, and she is becoming ever more popular around the world even now, 40 years after her death.
However, when people think of her works they tend to simply focus solely on themes such as “children, flowers and peace” or impressions such as “cute, gentle, and mellow.”
“Chihiro Iwasaki, Painter.” This exhibition takes its title from the words Chihiro used when she introduced herself to her future spouse. It looks at Chihiro's skills as an artist and explores the background to her works. What was her cultural context, and which techniques did she apply in her works? With around 200 exhibits, including some new material, this exhibition takes a detailed look at her work and tries to revise the image people have of Chihiro as an illustrator of children's books.

Section 1 I spent my entire girlhood in wartime
* The section titles quote Chihiro's own words.

The exhibition starts by tracing Chihiro's childhood up until the end of the war, exploring her roots as an artist and how her sensitivity was formed. Chihiro Iwasaki was born in 1918 to Masakatsu, an engineer in the Army Fortifications Division, and his wife Fumie, a teacher at a girls' school, and Chihiro and her two younger sisters had an idyllic childhood. Chihiro displayed a talent for drawing from an early age and adored the illustrated magazine Kodomo no Kuni (Children's World). She received a modern education at Dairoku High School for Girls, and her wide-ranging cultural experiences included being taught drawing and oil painting by Saburosuke Okada, and learning Japanese calligraphy from Shuyou Oda. This section presents multi-aspect of things and events that the young Chihiro encountered, and offers a view of the era she grew up in, and of the world she encountered and absorbed.

Must-see Many precious pre-war items!

Section 2 I want to draw pictures that will resonate with working people

Chihiro had long felt an empathy with the poet Kenji Miyazawa, a feeling that shaped her decision to join the Japanese Communist Party. Chihiro had been evacuated during the war but moved to Tokyo once it was over. In addition to working as newspaper journalist, she studied technique at the atelier of Iri and Toshi Maruki (Toshiko Akamatsu). Working on a kamishibai (picture board story) titled Okaasan no Hanashi (The Story of a Mother) in 1947 decided her to become an artist and she started her career as an illustrator of children's books. Section 2 explores such topics as how Chihiro proudly balanced her family life and creative work, and looks at her position in the cultural history of that time. It permits a closer view of a previously unexplored side of Chihiro via exhibits such as picture board stories and magic lanterns that are linked with proletarian art, as well as oil paintings that are rarely on view together.

Must-see Picture board stories, magic lanterns, posters and oil paintings: Chihiro used many different media!

Section 3 I transform myself as I toil away at various things

The first half of this exhibition explores Chihiro's early memories and her responsiveness to the changing times and cultural context. Based on that exploration, the second half takes an analytical look at the charm of her works. It focuses on the skills that are an integral part of her works in order to add greater nuance to the fixed image that most people have of Chihiro Iwasaki, namely her pictures of children and flowers. How did Chihiro express herself physically? Did she paint sitting down or standing up? What kind of tools and materials did she utilize? How did she make use of them, and how fast did she draw? This section focuses in particular on how lines are expressed in Chihiro's pictures. There is a tendency for people to view Chihiro's works solely in terms of design, but we think that the approach in this section will connect up with other works to provide a more rounded view of her art.

Must-see Open and natural! A closer look at the lines in Chihiro's works

Section 4  Illustrations must never be a mere explanation of the text

The final section displays many bright and shiny watercolors to demonstrate the charm of Chihiro's freewheeling color palette. Building upon the success of the 2017 exhibition “Chihiro by Isao Takahata in Chihiro Art Museum,” we enlarge pictures to bring out the open space immersed in Chihiro's works. The fusion of the display space with the reading distance of a picture book combines with the vivid coloration to form a fitting finale for this exhibition. A digest of the video program “Tetsuko Kuroyanagi and Chihiro Iwasaki” is also on display.

Must-see The space in the enlarged pictures enfolds visitors in its embrace!