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The 50th anniversary of the Suntory Foundation for the Arts

nendo × Suntory Museum of Art
information or inspiration? Japanese aesthetics to enjoy with left side and right side of the brain

April 27 to June 2, 2019

※There will be an exhibition change during the course of exhibition

The list of changes in worksPDF

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When we encounter something beautiful, we usually experience two kinds of reactions. One may be moved by learning the background of the work or the artist, while the other one is an emotional excitement we feel for no apparent reason. Inspired by this duality, Oki Sato, chief designer and founder of nendo, proposes to enjoy this collection of Japanese art from two different perspectives; an informative way for the left side of the brain, and a more intuitive approach for the right side of the brain.

Out of 3000 pieces from the permanent collection of the Suntory Museum of Art, 27 objects were carefully selected for the exhibition. The objects are placed in the centre of a custom-made display that is located between the two routes, allowing each object to be viewed from both sides in two very different ways.

The first route focuses on the informative and contextual aspects of the artworks in display. With the use of text and graphic data next to the objects, curious visitors can learn about the ideas behind the creative process and the artists’ intentions. The “inspiration” route suggests a more vague and minimal approach in which visitors can have a personal and maybe even emotional experience. In a darker dramatic setting, each object is presented in a way that captures its uniqueness. In this route the visitors can intuitively relate to the work without the use of words.

Visitors can decide on their own journey through the space; they can start either from the “information” or the “inspiration” route, or can enjoy only one of them if they choose. The various ways to experience and walk through the exhibition will increase and encourage communication between visitors in the space.

The concept behind the exhibition was not to determine the superiority between the two approaches. It was a conscious decision to separate the experience into two elements in order to refine their individual values. The recognition that there is an apparent “grey zone” lying between “information” and “inspiration” may be a paradoxical, hidden moral behind the exhibition.


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Red Raku tea bowl, named Jukushi
Hon'ami Kōetsu, Early Edo period, first half of 17th century,
Suntory Museum of Art, Photo: Iwasaki Hiroshi
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Tobacco tray with design of chrysanthemums
Late Edo period, 19th century, Suntory Museum of Art,
Photo: Iwasaki Hiroshi
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Satsuma cut-glass boat-shaped bowl with indigo-blue overlay
Late Edo period, Mid 19th century, Suntory Museum of Art,
Photo: Iwasaki Hiroshi
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Indigo-blue saké ewer
Mid Edo period, 18th century, Suntory Museum of Art,
Photo: Iwasaki Hiroshi

*Unauthorized reproduction or use of texts or images from this site is prohibited.

2022 January

  • Exhibition
  • Closed
  • Tea Ceremony
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2022 February

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2022 March

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2022 April

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2022 May

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2022 June

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2022 July

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2022 August

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2022 September

  • Exhibition
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2022 October

  • Exhibition
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  • Tea Ceremony
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2022 November

  • Exhibition
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  • Tea Ceremony
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2022 December

  • Exhibition
  • Closed
  • Tea Ceremony
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2023 January

  • Exhibition
  • Closed
  • Tea Ceremony
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2023 February

  • Exhibition
  • Closed
  • Tea Ceremony
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2023 March

  • Exhibition
  • Closed
  • Tea Ceremony
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2023 April

  • Exhibition
  • Closed
  • Tea Ceremony
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2023 May

  • Exhibition
  • Closed
  • Tea Ceremony
  • Mon
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  • 1
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2023 June

  • Exhibition
  • Closed
  • Tea Ceremony
  • Mon
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  • Sat
  • Sun
  • 1
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2023 July

  • Exhibition
  • Closed
  • Tea Ceremony
  • Mon
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2023 August

  • Exhibition
  • Closed
  • Tea Ceremony
  • Mon
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  • 1
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2023 September

  • Exhibition
  • Closed
  • Tea Ceremony
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2023 October

  • Exhibition
  • Closed
  • Tea Ceremony
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2023 November

  • Exhibition
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2023 December

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