The memory of modernity

Lugano

Drawings by japanese children from the Levoni Collection.

The exhibition presents around fifty Japanese children’s drawings dating back to 1938 and fortuitously rediscovered a few years ago by Mantua-based collector Gloria Levoni. They are a small part of the approximately four million drawings made for a competition among school children in the Axis countries - Japan, Germany and Italy. In that context, Japanese children were suggested to document how fully modern their country had become. However, it was not possible to transform the language of the young artists. And so, Western-style buildings, metal bridges, petrol stations and light poles mingle with gardens, the tiles of old houses, rice paper windows and the omnipresent outline of Mount Fuji. Moreover, the colour ranges, the same as those of ukiyo-e, mark the profound continuity of a world view proper to the Japanese cultural tradition.

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