Japan: feel, listen and try on – Arsenal Exhibition

The biggest exhibiting platform in Kyiv, Art Arsenal, presently hosts a multidimensional exposition called ‘Japan: an imaginary guide.’ Just like …

The biggest exhibiting platform in Kyiv, Art Arsenal, presently hosts a multidimensional exposition called ‘Japan: an imaginary guide.’

Just like Japan itself, the exhibition isn’t just a logically told, easily understandable story. It’s instead a complex art structure that influences your different perceptions and leaves you with more questions than answers.

8 sections

Here, precisely like in Japan, traditional art organically integrates with modern technologies. Both help you through your journey in their way.

The exhibit is divided into eight sections. It opens with the affecting installation of ‘void’ or ‘emptiness.’ According to Japanese philosophy ‘void’ is something that everything starts with.

In an ‘island’ section you can try to get closer to the concept of ‘island country’ that Japan is so proud to be. The ‘Sound sphere’ installation works as a metaphor for an island lost in time and space.

In the ‘Garden room’ you can find a small installation of a real garden, and also travel to virtual one through VR headset.

The ‘Bakemono,’ ‘Do,’ ‘Seasons’ and ‘Meisho’ installations also have their ways to excite.


The most impressive in whole exhibit is the ‘Chozumaki’ installation. It consists of glass vessels filled with water with a magnet rotating in each vessels’ bottom. It’s an astonishing combination of sound perception, water ability, modern technologies, and history.

The Way

One of the leading ideas of the ‘imaginary guide’ installation is the concept of ‘the way.’ Each individual and each society searches for their own ‘way’ every day.

In the movie by Hiromi Ozaki (Sputniko!) we can observe how a person tries to use modern technologies of genetic engineering and traditional stories to create her own ‘way’, to change her love life.

Other representations of ‘way’ lead us deeper into Japanese history and culture. We can learn more about the way of the samurai (bushido). Also, we can try to understand the idea of unconventional veneration of parents so deeply incorporated into Japanese culture.


Another cultural experience you can live there is that of the kimono. Not only can you observe the great masterpieces of kimono art and watch a video about handmade kimono creation, but you can also try one on yourself! By the way, having own traditional kimono by the age of 20 (official adulthood age in Japan) is very important for each Japanese girl. Although the cost of the dressing is pretty high, an average price of kimono can be equivalent to 10000 USD. Many girls work hard to save up for their treasure.


The ‘Form’ section summarizes the general idea of Japanese worldview.

‘Form’  is a metaphor for all Japanese culture: the cold resistant plum blossom, the delicate movements of a girl in a kimono, the short-lived cherry blossom, the simple sake cup. It doesn’t matter if something was made a millennium ago or yesterday. The Japanese easily and freely mix old and new, without breaking traditions and without ceasing the constant creation of something new”.

In the last room, you can try yourself to become an origami master or manga illustrator. You can also play various kinds of traditional Japanese table games.

The exhibit is still about two weeks to go, so give it a shot!

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