High Art – Pop Culture

29 July 2011 to 8 January 2012

Anime, the specifically Japanese form of animated cartoons, has been a hugely successful fixture in Germany since the 1970s, captivating the imagination of young and old alike. An umbrella term, Anime describes a wide variety of techniques employed to make drawings come to life in film. Alongside Manga, the Japanese comic strip, Anime has developed an international pictorial language that appeals to audiences of all ages.
Brightly coloured, catchy and energetic, the films and series such as Vicky the Viking, Heidi – Girl of the Alps, Captain Future, Akira, Sailor Moon, Princess Mononoke, Pokémon or Spirited Away have not only left their mark on everyday life in Japan, their high artistic quality and fascinating story lines are also a major influence on ‘high art’ and popular culture in general.

The Art and Exhibition Hall presents the history, aesthetics and production methods of Japanese Anime. From the very beginnings to the great box office hits and popular small screen heroes of the late 1970s and, finally, to the current computer games, the exhibition explores the fascination of Anime and its often breathtakingly dramatic pictorial language.

Organised around genres, the individual sections of the exhibition present a richly varied array of material on pop culture, production, reception, fandom and merchandising.

The tour of the exhibition begins with Anime for children (Kodomo no Anime), presenting the early co-productions by German and Japanese studios as well as cels from the famous Studio Ghibli. The Shōjo Animegenre is primarily geared towards young girls, while boys tend to be more interested in the ideals of Shōnen Anime: endurance, friendship and sincerity in the fight against monsters and evil powers. But the appeal of Anime is not limited to children and teenagers alone; adults enjoy Seinen Anime, which ranges from Eroticismto Fantasy and Science Fiction. The exhibition ends with an exploration of the current situation in Japan as reflected in contemporary Anime.

The displays are complemented by ‘high art’ by Amano Yoshitaka, photographs of ‘cosplayers’ by Oliver Sieber and costumes of actors playing Anime characters. The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive film programme for children and adults.