Ida Shoichi’s Ceramics and More At the Kyoto City MuseumNational

An unprecedented double museum exhibition honoured Kyoto native Ida Shoichi (pronounced ee-dah, 1941–2006), a master of prints who also created installations, paintings and ceramic sculptures. The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto (MOMAK) accepted the gift of 261 prints from Ida’s family and exhibited these, plus print installations. While the exhibition was handsomely installed, its narrow focus and extensive presentation of his pop prints, which are not his most innovative works, shortchanged the artist. Directly across the street is the City Museum (the short form of its name in Japanese is Shibi). Built in the 1930s, it is an old-fashioned space in which two of the four galleries are lined with large glass cases (reflections troubling the subtlety of many works shown in them). There were still plenty of pop prints, but Ida’s entire range was on view. Shibi accepted about 400 works in all media as an addition to Ida’s works already in the collection. The result was a far more satisfying – and more truthful – experience. The inclusion of his ceramics said more about his sensibility, in that he emphasised materials and tactility in every medium he broached. All the work was enriched by the mix.

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