© Copyright Kei IMAZU



Installation view: Meet the collection,

Yokohama Museum of Art, Kanagawa


Connecting Images

Avant-garde art, especially Surrealism, from between the twe orld wars forms the core of the Yokohama Museum of Art's colleetion. Artists like Max Ernst, Man Ray, René Magritte, and Salvador Dalí used various media including painting, sculpture, photography, and film to explore the idea that unexpected encounters among things create new kinds of beauty.

 In this section we welcome as a guest artist Kei Imazu, a highly innovative painter who employs the techniques priation, transformation, and connection, which also characterize the Surrealist art exhibited alongside her work, using modern technologies such as the Internet and image editing software.


 Imazu's Repatriation, shown here, focuses on cultural properties that left their original homelands due to circumstances such as plundering and smuggling, and the issue of nations' return of these properties. Imazu collected Internet images of cultural properties with complex backgrounds, such as Bust of Nefertiti, which Egypt has repeatedly asked Germany to return, distorted them with image editing software, and painted the resulting images on canvas.

 Causing images that would normally never encounter one another to come together in a visual space, creating an unprecedented scene: this is the commonality connecting Imazu and Surrealism. And while the distortion and transformation of images in Imazu's work expresses fear of the ambiguity of art objects' attribution and the dangers threatening their very existence, the distorted images also symbolize things that remain unanchored and are subject to constant change, as the were for the Surrealists.

 This section features, along with Surrealism, works by the as they were for the Surrealists Neo-Dada and Pop artists they influenced. Common to all is a stance of disrupting the viewer's preconceived notions and encouraging multiple interpretations. In the work of Imazu and other contemporary artists, this stance is alive and well today.


(Sayoko Osawa: Curator of Yokohama Museum of Art)



Oil on canvas

227.3 × 486.0 cm