NGV: Hokusai – Exhibition Review

The National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia have an exhibition displaying works by Japanese artist, Katsushika Hokusai. I have known about Katsushika Hokusai since discovering his piece ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa (The Great Wave)’; 1830–34, many years ago and have always admired his style. So when the NGV announced his exhibition, I knew I had to go see it.

Katsushika Hokai‘s art mainly consist of works inspired by his observation of nature and normal folk during the Edo-period of Japan. Hokusai was world renown for his unique tones and brush strokes. Each piece is so detailed, you have to go up-close to the paintings to really view and admire his work. If you’re heading to the exhibition, get there early. At present, there are no session tickets and buying a ticket grants you entry anytime for that date. The exhibition is huge with 176 pieces from both Japan Ukiyo-e Museum and the NGV Collection. Make sure you allow yourself plenty of time during the exhibition to see them all. Photography is allowed, just don’t use flash as they can potentially destroy the art and you really don’t need to use flash anyway as the gallery is well lit.

I loved every piece of this exhibition. Seeing The Great Wave made me so happy because it is the most iconic of Hokusai’s works and my favourite. Because there were so many pieces at the exhibit, I kept asking my friend, “Do you think they will notice if one of these go missing?” because I wanted one. They’re all so enchanting; simplistic but wonderful. The best part of the exhibition for me was discovering, ‘Hokusai Manga’. I never even knew manga dated that far back in history. I’ve always loved Japanese art and enjoy anime and manga, so discovering that Katsushika Hokusai is essentially a historical manga artist – it blew my mind.

Hokusai will be at NGV International until the 22nd of October. Don’t waste time. If you can, I strongly urge you to go see these beautiful pieces now.

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