Outsider Art from Japan: the best bits

We pick our favourite works from the Wellcome Collection's Outsider Art from Japan exhibition

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Visionary art, naive art, primitive art, folk art – outsider art can be all of these. And the 'outsider' tag reflects its audience as well as its practitioners: you don't need any theoretical knowledge of art to find it engaging. The Wellcome Collection's 'Outsider Art from Japan' exhibition brings together more than 300 exhibits, including ceramics, textiles, paintings, sculpture and drawings, by 46 artists, all of whom are residents and day patients at social welfare institutions on the main island of Honshu.

A few of our favourite 'Outsider Art from Japan' exhibits

  • Untitled

    by Shinichi Sawada

    Private Collection, image © Wellcome Library, London

    Shawada’s grotesque, menacing clay totem poles and obscene figures are some of the most instantly recognisable pieces on display. Heavily reminiscent of African tribal art, they’re wonderfully bizarre and obsessively overworked mutant gods, covered with thorns and eery, bulging eyes.

    Untitled
  • 'Octopus'

    by Koichi Fujino

    Collection of the artist. Photo: © Nobuo Onishi. Courtesy Wellcome Images

    Fujino’s bold images of fish, octopuses and random patterns seem barely contained by the page, leaking out across the edges. They are among the simplest works in the show and are all the more striking for it, though there is still an imposing sense of fear and pressure.

    'Octopus'
  • 'Midori Harukani'

    by Daisuke Kibushi

    Collection of the artist. Photo: © Nobuo Onishi. Courtesy Wellcome Images

    'Midori Harukani'
  • Untitled

    by Shota Katsube

    Collection of the artist. Photo: © Nobuo Onishi. Courtesy Wellcome Images

    Katsube has made an army of tiny, improvised anime soliders out of coloured wire. Brandishing swords and bazookas, the works are impressively intricate in detail. They’re laid out like a vast, futuristic Games Workshop battlefield in an awesome clash of art and pop culture. If only you were allowed to play with them.

    Untitled
  • 'Wedding'

    by Masao Obata

    Nonprofit Organization Haretari-Kumottari. Photo: © Nobuo Onishi. Courtesy Wellcome Images

    'Wedding'
  • 'Seitenmodoki'

    by Shoichi Koga

    Collection of the artist, image © Wellcome Library, London

    'Seitenmodoki'
  • 'Circles'

    by Yumiko Kawai

    Social welfare coporation Yamanami, Atelier Yamanami. Photo: © Nobuo Onishi. Courtesy Wellcome Images

    'Circles'
  • 'Bus'

    by Masatoshi Nishimoto

    Collection of the artist. Photo: © Nobuo Onishi. Courtesy Wellcome Images

    'Bus'
  • Untitled

    by Shingo Ikeda

    Collection of the artist Photo: © Nobuo Onishi. Courtesy Wellcome Images

    Untitled
  • Untitled

    by Komei Bekki

    Collection of the artist, image © Wellcome Collection, London. Courtesy Wellcome Images

    Untitled
  • 'Apple of Rabbits'

    by Satoshi Nishikawa

    Shiga Prefecture. Photo: © Nobuo Onishi. Courtesy Wellcome Images

    'Apple of Rabbits'
  • 'Mother'

    by Toshiko Yamanishi

    Collection of the artist. Photo: © Nobuo Onishi. Courtesy Wellcome Images

    'Mother'

Untitled

by Shinichi Sawada

Private Collection, image © Wellcome Library, London

Shawada’s grotesque, menacing clay totem poles and obscene figures are some of the most instantly recognisable pieces on display. Heavily reminiscent of African tribal art, they’re wonderfully bizarre and obsessively overworked mutant gods, covered with thorns and eery, bulging eyes.



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More free events - WImbledon Art Studios Open Weekend Summer Open Studios Art Show, May 2013 The dates for the next Summer Open Studios Art Show 2013 are: • 16th - 19th May, 2013 • Thursday & Friday 2pm – 10pm • Saturday & Sunday 11am – 6pm http://www.wimbledonartstudios.co.uk/open-studios/next-show/