cover art for Jennifer Gilbert on Shinichi Sawada

Talk Art

Jennifer Gilbert on Shinichi Sawada

Season 9, Ep. 2

Season 9 continues!!! We meet Jennifer Gilbert - curator, gallerist and longterm champion of Outsider Art - to discuss the work of leading Japanese artist Shinichi Sawada on the occasion of his first solo exhibition in New York at the awesome Venus Over Manhattan gallery. If you're in New York, we STRONGLY recommend visiting this extraordinary new show!!!!

Thirty-eight year old Shinichi Sawada has kept the same schedule for nearly twenty years. On Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, he attends Nakayoshi Fukushikai, a social welfare facility in Japan’s Shiga prefecture, where he spends the morning working at the in-house bakery, making bread. He spends the afternoons working with clay. Sawada first attended this facility, one of many similar institutions in Japan designed to support people with intellectual disabilities, when he was eighteen years old, shortly after he was diagnosed with autism. In the two decades since, his ceramic beasts – sometimes ghoulish, always fantastical, and deeply redolent of ancient mythologies still coursing through Japanese culture – have attracted the attention of critics and connoisseurs worldwide, notably after a presentation at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013.

Venus' current showcase of thirty of Sawada’s ceramic sculptures follows a recent museum solo exhibition that traveled in fall 2020 from the Museum Lothar Fischer, in Neumarkt, Germany, to the George Kolbe Museum, Berlin. On view through late March, the Venus exhibition has been organized in collaboration with Jennifer Lauren Gallery, Manchester, UK, who has worked with the artist for many years. In conjunction with its presentation, Venus will publish a generously illustrated catalogue featuring new and recent writing on Sawada’s art.

Shinichi Sawada (b. 1982) lives and works in Japan’s Shiga prefecture. Since 2000, he has attended Nakayoshi Fukushikai, a social welfare facility that supports people with intellectual disabilities. In 2020, a solo exhibition of his work traveled from the Museum Lothar Fischer in Neumarkt, to the George Kolbe Museum in Berlin. His work has featured prominently in major group exhibitions around the world, including “The Encyclopedic Palace” at the 55th Venice Biennale, curated by Massimiliano Gioni, and “The Doors of Perception” at Frieze New York in 2019. His work is held in the permanent collections of numerous public institutions, including the Collection de l’Art Brut, Lausanne; the abcd collection, Paris; and Halle Saint Pierre, Paris.

Shinichi Sawada runs until March 20, 2021 at Venus Over Manhattan, New York. Follow @V_Over_M on Instagram and their official website at: to discover more! Follow Jennifer on Instagram @j_lgallery and visit her official website

For images of all artworks discussed in this episode visit @TalkArt. Talk Art theme music by Jack Northover @JackNorthoverMusic courtesy of We've just joined Twitter too @TalkArt. If you've enjoyed this episode PLEASE leave us your feedback and maybe 5 stars if we're worthy in the Apple Podcast store. For all requests, please email

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