Asaba’s Assimilation: Katsumi Asaba Exhibition

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Asaba’s Assimilation: Katsumi Asaba Exhibition
Jan 15, 2016(fri) – Mar 19, 2016(sat)
Hours: 11:00 – 19:00 (until 18:00 on Saturdays)
Closed: Sundays and holidays
Admission: Free


ddd gallery
Access: 10 Uzumasa Kamikeibu-cho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto 616-8533
Tel: 075-871-1480
Hours: 11:00 – 19:00 (until 18:00 on Saturdays)
Closed: Sundays and holidays


n 2016 kyoto ddd gallery kicks the new year off with “Asaba’s Assimilation,” a solo exhibition of works by Katsumi Asaba, an art director who today enjoys supreme renown and popularity both at home in Japan and worldwide. “Assimilation,” Asaba’s keyword for this show, is a concept put forward by art historian Yuji Yamashita linking Japanese art traditions with contemporary design. So taken was Asaba by Yamashita’s novel approach that he lost no time creating a piece of calligraphy citing the word, which is written with three characters literally meaning “changing to flesh and blood.”
Asaba is an artist whose intense curiosity and insatiable appetite for self-development fuel an interest in things old and new, Eastern and Western, everything from the noblest pursuits to sub- and pop culture. All of these he assimilates, sublimating them into his inimitable style of design with graceful suppleness infused with a contrasting streak of unbending determination.
Asaba is the embodiment of Yamashita’s hopes to see the emergence of a designer who “voraciously chomps on the rich nutrients of Japanese art, gulps them down, ingests them to his core, and converts them into his own flesh and blood.” The numerous designs Asaba has assimilated have gone through several organic permutations – first at ggg (Tokyo), continuing at CCGA (Fukushima), and now here, changed again, in Kyoto.
Our hope is that young artists destined to form the next generation in design will come to know Asaba’s design work – work deriving from his unabated quest to create, his almost tenacious powers of continuity, and his physical robustness honed through his endeavors in lettering, calligraphy and table tennis – and then assimilate it into their own new flesh and blood.

Gallery Talk :
Date: Friday, January 15, 2016, 16:00 – 17:30
Speakers: Katsumi Asaba, Yuji Yamashita
Venue: kyoto ddd gallery
Admission free, but reservations are required. (capacity: 60 persons)

opening party :
Date: Friday, January 15, 2016, 17:30 – 19:00
Venue: kyoto ddd gallery

Katsumi ASABA :
Born in Kanagawa Prefecture in 1940. After graduating from Kuwasawa Design School and working at Keinosuke Sato Typography Studio and Light Publicity, he founded Katsumi Asaba Design Studio in 1975. Many of his creations as an art director have made a lasting mark in the history of Japanese advertising design. Representative works include landmark ads for Seibu Department Stores, Suntory and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, and package design for Kirin tea. Asaba is an expert on Dongba, an ancient pictorial script still used in some areas of China. He has received numerous awards, including the Japan Advertising Artists Club Special Prize, Tokyo Type Directors Club Award, Mainichi Design Prize, Japan Advertising Awards Yamana Prize, Japan Academy Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction, Tokyo Art Directors Club Grand Prix, and two decorations from the Japanese Government: a Medal with Purple Ribbon; and the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette. Asaba is chairman of the Tokyo Type Directors Club, a committee member of the Tokyo Art Directors Club, president of JAGDA (Japan Graphic Designers Association), Japan representative in the Alliance Graphique Internationale, director of Kuwasawa Design School, and visiting professor at Tokyo Zokei University and Kyoto Seika University. He has a 6th level ranking in table tennis.

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