Fantastic Art in Belgium
In a nutshell
Moving from 15th century Flanders to Symbolism and Expressionism to Surrealism and contemporary pieces, the paintings, etchings, engravings, sculptures and photographs span five centuries of Belgium’s fascination with fantasy. Chapter one, Flemish Art from the 15th Century through the 17th Century, focuses on saints, fools, temptations, and the seven deadly sins and and corresponding virtues. The two hundred year gap to more recent Belgian Symbolism and Expressionism is noticeable. Seeing several works by René Magritte is a treat.
The Museum is located in the basement of the Bunkamura building. The museum is large enough but there is no natural light.
Go at an off time if at all possible. Many pieces are small and incredibly detailed so standing very close is the only way to catch everything. It was well attended on an August Wednesday morning and weekends could get quite crowded.
English? (labels/audio guides/handouts)
Disappointing amount of English. Only the basics of the pieces (artist/title/date/technique/collection) and a few brief explanatory sentences for each chapter (section) are in English. The audio guide and all other wall text are only in Japanese.
These works are detailed, bizarre and thought provoking. Fantastic in true spirit of the word: full of imagination and distanced from reality.
If you enjoyed the recent Tower of Babel exhibit at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, you’ll like this as well.
How far out?
The Bunkamura is centrally located in Shibuya.
How much time?
Less than an hour but add extra time if it’s crowded and you want to see all the pieces up close.
How much money?
¥1,500 general admission
Until September 24, 2017
Rating: make a special trip, see it if you’re in the area or have some free time, see it only if you like this specific type of art
See it if you’re in the area, especially if you like Bruegel, Symbolists or Surrealists.