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Art Contemporary (1945-)

Fragment, Image, and Absence in 1960s Japan

by (author) Ignacio A. Adriasola Muñoz

Penn State University Press
Initial publish date
Jan 2023
Contemporary (1945-), Japanese, General, Conceptual, Japan
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2023
    List Price

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This groundbreaking book examines how the notion of “the object” was transformed in Japanese experimental art during a time of rapid social, economic, and environmental change.

Reviving the legacies of the historical avant-garde, Japanese artists and intellectuals of the 1960s formulated an aesthetics of disaffection through which they sought to address the stalemate of political and aesthetic representation. Ignacio A. Adriasola Muñoz draws from psychoanalytic theories of melancholia to examine the implications of such an approach, tracing a genealogy of disaffection within modernist discourse. By examining the discursive practices of artists working across a wide range of media, and through a close analysis of artwork, philosophical debates, artist theories, and critical accounts, Adriasola Muñoz shows how negativity became an efficacious means of addressing politics as a source for the creative act of undoing.

In examining ideas of the object advanced by artists and intellectuals both in writing and as part of their artwork, this book brings discussions in critical art history to bear on the study of art in Japan. It will be of interest to art historians specializing in modernism, the international avant-garde, Japanese art, and the history of photography.

About the author

Ignacio A. Adriasola Muñoz is Assistant Professor in the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory at the University of British Columbia.

Ignacio A. Adriasola Muñoz's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“Effectively applying psychoanalysis and other theoretical approaches, Adriasola Muñoz explores the melancholy and estrangement experienced by a diverse selection of artists and critics active in Japan in the 1960s. This book dovetails nicely with a rich and growing English-language literature on the art of Japan in the late 1950s and 1960s by authors such as Marotti, Tiempo, Tomii, Kunimoto, and Prichard.”

—Jonathan Reynolds, author of Allegories of Time and Space: Japanese Identity in Photography and Architecture