We arrived at Atelier Outotsu around 5pm Tuesday afternoon. As seems to becoming standard practice, after a good flight over HP and myself indulged in the usual in-Japan transport hi-jinks which delayed our arrival by a good hour. I cannot talk about it in public. Let’s just say that before we even arrived at our new home, we’d been on a lovely sightseeing jaunt to Kobe. Really, there are times when we would put Laurel and Hardy to shame…
Anyway. We were given a fabulous welcome by one of Outotsu’s directors, Kaoru Higashi. The Atelier is spread across the top two floors of a 1960s apartment block, and we have been allocated a small flat on the fifth floor. Cool! After a tour of the facilities I kind of collapsed and slept for a good 12 hours.
The next morning we were in action immediately. We were taken by Outotsu’s founder and director Ritsuwo Kanno to an exhibition they currently have running at Nishinomiya City Hometown Museum. Spread across two huge floors, the exhibition is a mixture of work we saw last year in Tokyo and a lot of new stuff. Needless to say the quality was sky-high, some of the work absolutely exquisite. It managed to be both a varied exhibition but also one that had a definite underlying (modernist) aesthetic that tied it all together. Very satisfying!
Before we went the opportunity of a photo shoot presented itself. Whilst not someone who normally revels in such things, this photo delights me simply because it is almost identical to a photograph taken on our last day in Tokyo in 2018. The only difference being Kaoru Higashi is absent, but instead it is Izumi Ueda Yuu (another superb print artist associated with the Atelier Outotsu (cue Google)) on Kanno-san’s right:
Satisfyingly, this photo glues this first day of our visit almost directly onto the last day of last year’s. Who would have thought!