The Victoria and Albert Museum have unveiled the results of the two year project refurbishing the Toshiba Gallery of Japanese Art, showcasing a wide variety of Japanese art from across the ages which will officially reopen to the public on the 4th November.
From the second that visitors step into the light and spacious gallery, there is a peaceful serenity about the space that really allows the work on display to shine and and stand out. The softer also means that there isn’t so much of an aggressive feeling towards the art.
Everything that is on display has clearly selected carefully and shows off the V&A’s extensive Japanese art collection proudly and impressively. The way in which the objects have been selected to fit each theme -whether it is religion and rituals or theatre and folk craft, all of the objects on display truly celebrate the best of Japanese culture.
Although it is clear that the curators have tried to keep things as chronologically accurate as possible, it doesn’t always work – but that doesn’t matter as it allows the visitor to see how things have developed over decades by compare and contrast rather than having it pointed out to them.
The key point about the re-opening of this gallery is that it gives a real sense of Japan’s history and in turn shows the museum’s continuing commitment to conserving history and developing people’s understanding of it.
There is a fantastic variety of objects on display and it is fascinating to see that the gallery has developed the modern and contemporary section of the display – revealing how Japanese artists and designers use the skills used by their ancestors to create objects that fit the modern day Japan.
Wondering around this newly revamped gallery, it has plenty of style and elegance about it that really captures visitor’s attention to the objects. There is plenty to see throughout the space – but at no point does it feel overwhelming.
Originally opening at the Victoria and Albert museum in December 1986, it has to be said that the refurbishment was definitely needed as it didn’t show off the objects on display to their full advantage. But now, the gallery looks more inviting and visitors will certainly have a better understanding and respect for Japanese art.
Every element of Japanese culture is covered in this display and it is easy to wonder around without getting lost and confused as it has been designed for visitors to explore at their leisure.
Overall, this two year project has proved valuable for the V&A and certainly celebrates the best of Japan culture and art.
The Toshiba Gallery of Japanese Art opens to the public from the 4th November. Admission is free.