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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien
Alexandra Faust

Alexandra Faust

Alexandra Faust
Since March 2024

I have been interested in Japanese culture, traditions, and arts since my first stay in Japan as a high-school student at the age of 15 years, followed by several stays abroad (e.g. Kyoto University) and interdisciplinary art projects. Currently I am PhD student of Philosophy at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna (Austria) in the Department of Cultural Studies.

Drawing on my academic background in Cultural and Social Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Art History, Global Art Studies, and Japanese Studies, I aspire to combine these fields within a multi-disciplinary and intercultural approach. Based on ethnographic research into contemporary Japanese art in Kyoto I undertook for my master thesis, I continue this research within my current dissertation project: my research focuses on contemporary Japanese artists, currently living and working in Kyoto, who work with traditional Japanese materials (such as washi paper, urushi lacquer or silk). While much attention has been given to “Superflat” and Pop-Art/anime culture in contemporary Japanese art, the usage of “traditional” Japanese techniques and materials has mostly been linked to Ukiyo-e (woodblock prints) or handcrafts. Thus, I seek to address the research gap that lies in the in-between of traditional and contemporary Japanese art. Using ethnographic research methods, including personal interviews with artists, field research, and participant observation at art fairs or gallery visits, I aim at collecting empirical data during my research stay in Kyoto.

My the theoretical background is based on theories of the New Materialism (e.g. Karen Barad’s performative, posthumanistic approach of “agential realism”) which I use to reflect the dynamic and constructive potential and agency of “material” and “space” within the artists artworks.

The aim of my dissertation is to overcome the prevailing duality and boundaries concerning “traditional” and “contemporary” art in the current Japanese art discourse by adopting a holistic approach.