Jikihitsu. The Signature of the Artist. The Presence of Japanese Tradition in Contemporary Polish Art

Institute of Art Education, The Maria Grzegorzewska University
together with Polish Institute of World Art Studies

and Association of Polish Architects


cordially invite you to


an international conference:

Jikihitsu. Sygnatura artysty. Obecność tradycji japońskiej we współczesnej sztuce polskiej / Jikihitsu. The Signature of the Artist. The Presence of Japanese Tradition in Contemporary Polish Art


which will take place on 10-12 June 2019 at the seat of the Association of Polish Architects, Foksal 2 in Warsaw.


Jikihitsu. The Signature of the Artist. The Presence of Japanese Tradition in Contemporary Polish Art is an international conference supported by accompanying events (i.a. exhibitions, a theatre play, an artistic performance and workshops) devoted to the subject of current relations and mutual influence of Polish and Japanese culture.

The event is also organized to mark the celebration of the centenary of establishing diplomatic relations between Poland and Japan.


The admiration for Japanese art, aesthetics, philosophy and tradition has not faded in Poland since the turn of the 19th and 20th century. This trend came to us mostly from Paris, but also from Munich and Vienna. Japanese distant and dissimilar culture has always been a source of diverse inspirations manifested both in visual arts and in performance, theatre or dance.

However, contrary to the period of fin de siècle, today’s relations of Polish and Japanese art were not extensively presented in research or studies.

In Poland, since the second half of the 19th century up to the antebellum period we could observe something of a “Japanese frenzy”, which was documented in various ways. What is interesting, at that time only a few people managed to actually visit Japan (before the First World War it was i.a. Count Karol A. Lanckoroński and Julian Fałat and later Karol Frycz and Kazimierz Zieleniewski). The image of the Country of Cherry Blossom was built based on the general notions, available art (e.g. Japanese woodcut, arts and crafts), collections (of i.a. F. "Manggha” Jasieński, L. Wyczółkowski, J. Pankiewicz, J. Mehoffer, W. Weiss, Stanisław Glezmer or Andrzej Mniszch and others), publications, essays, guides, monographs and also indirectly, through Western art inspired by Japanese tradition (impressionists, postimpressionists, symbolists, tonalists etc.).


At the age of widespread mobility, globalisation, transcuturalism, new media, new means of communication and easy access to information (thanks to the Internet, social media etc.) modern Polish-Japanese relations seem to have a very different character than those built at the turn of the 19th and 20th century.


During the conference we will look at the phenomenon of inexhaustible fascination with the culture and art of the Country of Cherry Blossom. We will analyse whether this interest is genuinely deep and how it is manifested. What do we mean today when we use the terms japonaiserie and japonism? How visible and important is the influence of the philosophy and religion of the Far East on the creative process of contemporary artists (in graphic art, painting, sculpture, digital media, dance etc.)? What is it that the artists nowadays find intriguing and inspiring in this alien culture and what effect does it have on them?


The current Polish-Japanese relations will be presented from the perspective of common meetings, cyclic events, thematic shows, exhibitions, festivals, artistic exchanges and residencies. We will also discuss the permanent presence of Polish artists and their works in Japan (e.g. Magdalena Abakanowicz, Krzysztof Wodiczko, Józef Wilkoń, Wiesław Rosocha, or Lidia Dańko) as well as the Japanese artists and their oeuvres in Poland (Koji Kamoji, Naomi and Masakazu Kobayashi). We will not fail to mention the still very lively traces of Japan in Polish museum collections. An important element of the debate will also be the context of creative output of selected Polish artists working in France in “symbiosis” with Japanese culture and art.
We will also take a closer look at the inspirations present in different fields of art – not only within the framework of visual arts (from traditional media to digital ones), but also in the context of theatre, dance and performance.

Moreover, we will try to present references to the title jikihitsu, or the signature of the artist, which we understood very broadly – not only as a reference to the artist’s signature that confirms the work, or an element of the composition, but also as a particular metaphor of the creative path, the artist’s attitude and the shaping of their artistic individuality in the face of the influence of a dissimilar culture and tradition.


An important component of the conference will be the appearance of the guests from Japan, who will tell us more about their own relations with contemporary Polish and/or European culture and art and who will share with us the reason for and fruits of their intercultural fascinations. Among the speakers we will host outstanding art historians, artists and Japanese university lecturers, such as i.a.: Professor Akiko Kasuya, art and aesthetics historian and an expert on Polish art of the 20th century, Professor Yuko Nakama, Professor Shigemi Inaga, Professor Michio Hayashi, Professor Yasuyuki Saegusa, Professor Michael Schneider and other distinguished guests.


During the conference we will also try to find and analyse the artistic touching points that currently connect Poland and Japan – two such geographically and culturally distant countries.


The programme of the three-day conference includes lot of areas and subjects relevant for the present day scientific research:

  • the source of reception of Japanese culture and art in Poland

  • Japanese spirituality and aesthetics and their impact on the work of contemporary Polish artists

  • japonaiserie/japonism: contemporary definition of the concepts

  • Jikihitsu. The Signature of the Artist - the formation of creative individuality in the face of the influence of culture and arts of the Far East

  • Japanese inspirations in various fields of visual, performing and related arts today (incl. painting, sculpture, graphics, poster, mangha, photography, film, new media, performance, architecture)

  • the presence of Japanese art and culture in Europe (e.g. in France) and their impact on the Polish émigré artists

  • artistic events, cultural institutions and their role in the exchange of experiences and the integration of Polish and Japanese artists; artistic exchange - residences

The invitation to the conference has been accepted by the experts on Japanese art (and Polish art inspired by Japanese tradition) from Poland, as well as by renowned guests from artistic universities and cultural institutions from Japan and selected European countries. The participants are representing different fields of studies; we will host experts on culture, art historians, theoreticians and critics, as well as artists who represent important scientific centres in Poland and Japan. We have also not failed to include organisers of artistic events which aim at confronting both discussed cultures.

The languages of the conference will be: Polish, Japanese and English.

The programme of the conference will be supported by accompanying events: exhibitions of Polish and Japanese artists, a theatre performance, an artistic performance and educational as well as art therapy workshops.


Selected texts will be published in English in a series World Art Studies” v. 19 (2019) entitled Poland–Japan. Contemporary Art and Artistic Relations.