MAK Permanent Collection Asia: new gallery designed by Tadashi Kawamata

The new presentation of the MAK Permanent Collection ASIA: China – Japan – Korea on the ground floor of the museum reflects the growing interest of visitors—and most notably of many artists—in Asian art.

Selected artefacts from the collection have been embedded in an artistic concept and design created specifically for the venue by the renowned artist Tadashi Kawamata, yielding profound insight into the art and cultures of East Asia.

Since its foundation 150 years ago, the MAK has focused with particular emphasis on Asian applied arts, for the history of European materials cannot be told without referring to art from Asia. In the course of time, an inventory has been compiled from major public and private collections that, besides offering a wide-ranging perspective on developments in art history, can boast of artworks that are unique across the world. Chinese porcelain, Japanese lacquerwork, Japanese woodcuts (ukiyo-e), and Japanese dyers’ stencils (katagami) form the core of the MAK Asia Collection, now totaling around 25,000 artefacts. It is one of the most comprehensive and important European collections of art and applied arts from the Asiatic region.

In February 2014, the MAK Permanent Collection Asia has moved to the ground floor of the MAK main building on Stubenring, in place of the former MAK Permanent Collection Romanesque Gothic Renaissance. Johannes Wieninger, Curator of the MAK Asia Collection, found the ideal artist in Tadashi Kawamata for the newly conceived collection presentation. To quote Wieninger: “Ever since taking part in the Biennale in Venice in 1982, Tadashi Kawamata has been one of the leading contemporary artists bridging the gap between East and West. His works have an ephemeral character, thus are intensively related to place and time, subtly connecting the different cultures. His installation Yusuke Nakahara’s Cosmology for the Echigo Tsumari Art Festival in Japan in 2012 is a reinterpretation of an art critic’s comprehensive library and inspired us to invite him to work with the MAK Asia Collection.”