Souzou: Outsider Art from Japan

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Lead image: Shoichi Koga, Seitenmodoki (Ganesha (Nandikeshvara)-oid), 2006 © Courtesy of the Artist and Wellcome Collection
Untitled , 2006-10 Clay, Natural Glaze © Courtesy of the Artist and Wellcome Collection
Untitled (wedding) Pencil, Coloured Pencil, Cardboard © Courtesy of the Artist and Wellcome Collection
Souzou: Outsider Art from Japan

183 Euston Road
London NW1 2BE
United Kingdom
March 28th, 2013 - June 30th, 2013
Opening: March 28th, 2013 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM

fitzrovia, bloomsbury
+44 (0)20 7611 2222
Tue-Wed, Fri-Sat 10-6; Thu 10-10 (bookshop until 9PM); Sun 11-6; Public holidays 12-6
ceramics, textiles, sculpture


Our spring exhibition brings together more than 300 works for the first major display of Japanese Outsider Art in the UK. The 46 artists represented in the show are residents and day attendees at social welfare institutions across Honshu, Japan's largest island. The wonderfully diverse collection comprises ceramics, textiles, paintings, sculpture and drawings.

'Souzou' has no direct translation in English but a dual meaning in Japanese: written one way, it means creation, and in another it means imagination. Both meanings allude to a force by which new ideas are born and take shape in the world.

The exhibition has been organised in association with Het Dolhuys, the Museum of Psychiatry in Haarlem (the Netherlands) and the Social Welfare Organisation Aiseikai (Tokyo). It reflects the growing acclaim for Outsider Art – often defined as works made by self-taught artists perceived to be at the margins of society – while questioning assumptions about the category itself.

Eschewing a purely biographical approach, the show will be object-led, with a startling array of works offering singular and affecting explorations of culture, memory and creativity.

A series of documentary films featuring a selection of the exhibiting artists will play at the end of the exhibition.

A full programme of events will run alongside the exhibition.

This will be our last major exhibition before our exciting development project kicks off in summer 2013.