September 25, 2009

Gauguin @ The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

First, there was the huge queue for tickets, something you'd expect to see here when a new Krispy Kreme shop opens. Next, there was the slow moving bump and jostle of people, often five deep in front of the pictures, something akin to trying to get through the ticket barrier at a station during rush hour. On top of this you had the inane comments, such as "Hmm, they all look the same. What's so special?", "God, I wish they'd hurry up in front. Why are they stopping?" and "I'm not sure what that's about." The icing on the cake, however, when arriving in the area where the real crowd-pulling work of the exhibition was displayed was the announcement by the museum ushers to "Keep walking and not stop." Hardly ideal conditions for admiring art, but then again I guess I was stupid enough to try to go to a major exhibition in Tokyo on a National Holiday.

Those frustrations aside, it was great to be able to see more then fifty Gauguin works gathered together as a kind of representation of the progression of his career. The exhibition was divided into three sections, the first featuring pictures painted in France wen he was discovering his wild side, the second featuring pictures and woodcuts from Tahiti and the final section was titled 'Destined to wander' and featured his masterpiece Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?, which was being exhibited in Japan for the first time.

Despite the crowds it was an exhibition well worth seeing. I just wish I hadn't left it so late that I only had the choice of going on a National Holiday.

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