- Europe & Africa
Ghosts and Hells: The underworld in Asian art
Musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac
37 Quai Branly,
Apr 10, 2018 To Jul 15, 2018
Detail: The exhibition focuses its attention on Asian ghost stories, delving into the world of spirits, terror and fantastic creatures as it takes visitors on a journey to the edges of reality, through religious art, theatre, cinema, contemporary design and manga.
From Buddhist to J-Horror, from Hokusai prints to Pac-Man, from the Thai spirit culture to horror manga, the figure of the ghost has haunted the Asian imagination for centuries. In China, Thailand and Japan - the lands that the exhibition focuses on - the popular infatuation with terror is very real, and one that permeates a wide variety of cultural productions. From spirits that wander the forest, vengeful cat-women and hungry spirits that return from the dead ("the walking dead") to jumping vampires and yokaïs (supernatural creatures in Japanese folklore), these can appear in multiple guises and play on artistic periods and media.
Ghosts and Hells - the underworld in Asian art explores their omnipresence not only in objects and documents but also in the performing arts, cinema and comics in an attempt to better understand how they work. After all, whilst Buddhism has played its part in the formation of this imagination – implying that souls are in waiting between two reincarnations –, it is indeed on the fringes of religion, in popular and secular art, that the representation of ghosts has truly come into its own.