With Japan still in our hearts and minds we went on Saturday morning to visit the exhibitions at the Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art in Haifa.

The Tikotin Museum

Beautifully located on the Carmel Mountain this is the best place in Israel to get a taste of the Japanese art and culture.

Felix Tikotin - source haaretz.com

We arrived in time for the guided tour which combined information about the exhibitions and the museum itself. The story of the museum is related to the story of the life of its founder, Felix Tikotin, a German Jew from Dresden, who fought in the German army during the first world war, was a friend of Otto Dix, traveled to Japan and started his art gallery and Far East collection in the post-war Berlin. During the second world war he survived hidden in occupied Holland, lost and regained much of his collection after the war. As his daughter became a Zionist and settled in Israel, he came here and shared part of his time between Israel (Jerusalem and Haifa) and Europe. In 1960 he opened the first museum of Japanese art in the Middle East in Haifa.

Noda Tetsuya - Diary, source http://www.hms.org.il

The principal exhibition in the museum is “50″ an exhibition of contemporary Japanese prints created by 50 artists and dedicated to the 50 years of the museum which were celebrated in 2010. The range of styles and techniques represented by the artists in the exhibition is quite extensive, with traditional techniques quite in minority relative to the modern styles synchronized with the modern art in any part of the world. Noda Tetsuya for example combinse photography and woodblock printing, and the two works in the current exhibition at the Tikotin Museum have Israeli themes, as the artist (who is married to an Israeli) travels and created part of his time in Israel.

Tamekane Yoshikatsu - Wing of Fantasy, source http://www.hms.org.il

Tamekane Yoshikatsu has a vision that combines and creates symbols of space and colors in a manner that reminded me the traditional Australian art.

Kokeshi - source http://www.hms.org.il

Another exhibition that I enjoyed most was a collection if kokeshi – traditional wooden dolls. This is one of the older forms of art expressions that can be found in multiple places in Japan, and which have different origins and functions, from bath massage rubs to mystic functions. Most of them have a wooden head and cylindrical body that allows for exquisite paintings.  Although the origins of the kokeshi can be traced back to the 12th century, it is only recently that collectors started to focus on this original form of crafts that became an art under the hands of the different artists in various areas of Japan.

Tanaka Katsuki - Panoraama , source http://www.hms.org.il

The last exhibition included two videos by Tanaka Katsuki, in two different styles. The first Wonder-fall is a tridimensional animation representing human forms in a world of falling objects, with an instability that reminds the recent events and makes the viewer uncertain about the ground he walks on. The second video Pamoraama belongs to the visual drug style which reminds me in forms, color and musical background the psychedelic art at the end of the 60s.

(video source momoCAsweets)

I could not find any of the works on the Internet, but youTube features a few works by Katsuki among which a fragment from ALTOVISION – the work above in the visual drug style.

The three exhibitions are open until June 19. During April another exhibition dedicated to the bonsai art of planting miniature trees will also be open in the museum.