In 1968 the ICA London exhibition Fluorescent Chrysanthemum was the first presentation of experimental Japanese art, music, film and design in Europe. Revisiting its archives today, the ICA presents a display that highlights its rich heritage as a home for radical contemporary arts and culture.
Exhibition runs till 27 November at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, Pall Mall, London
Fluorescent Chrysanthemum, originally curated by Jasia Reichardt, comprised of contemporary Japanese sculptures, miniatures, posters, graphics, kites, music with visual scores and films. The title referred to the fluorescent effects in many of the works, alongside reference to the Chrysanthemum flower as the Imperial Seal of Japan.
The original exhibition showcased a group of artists never before seen in the UK, including: Kohei Sugiura, Jiro Takamatsu, Ushio Shinohara, Tadanori Yokoo, Seiichi Hayashi, Yoji Kuri, Tatsuo Shimamura.
“A show of Japanese fluorescent sculptures, Japanese abstract cartoon films, graphics and kites is presented at the ICA Gallery in a superbly imaginative way. This is an aesthetic performance rather than an art show. I cannot think of a more exciting way to spend a morning or an afternoon in town.” What’s on in London, 13 December 1968
The show was divided into sections: Miniatures, Graphics, Posters, Sculptures, Film and Music. Kohei Sugiura designed the exhibition graphics and the highly distinct installation of the show, working closely with Reichardt. The catalogue itself was also innovative, printed on a large folded single sheet in two versions (one black on white, the other white on black), both of which unfolded with the exhibition poster printed on the other side.
This display looks back through this archive material, examining the importance and impact of the 1968 show.