Fluorescent Chrysanthemum Revisited

An Interview with Curator Jasia Reichardt

The curator of the ICA's 1968 exhibition discusses the organisation and lasting importance of the first presentation of Japanese experimental art in Europe.

Our current Fox Reading Room exhibition is a retrospective of 1968's Fluorescent Chrysanthemum, which was originally curated by former ICA Assistant Director Jasia Reichardt. Here she discusses the exhibition, with an introduction by ICA's Head of Programme Katharine Stout.

Jasia Reichardt curated Fluorescent Chrysanthemum for the ICA in 1968, the same year we moved to our current premises on The Mall, and this year we worked with her to present an archival display of the exhibition. It was the first presentation in Europe of the latest experimental arts in Japan and was organised with the help and advice of four Japanese critics: Ichiro Haryu, Yusuke Nakahara and Yoshiaki Tono for the visual arts, and Kuniharu Akiyama for music. The exhibition included over eighty participants across the different art forms. It was divided into six main sections: sculptures, miniatures, posters, graphics, music with visual scores and films. The title refers to the fluorescent effects in many of the works, and the chrysanthemum is one of Japan's national symbols. Kohei Sugiura designed the exhibition and all the graphics, including the unusual catalogue.

Writer and curator Jasia Reichardt was Assistant Director of the ICA from 1963-71, during which time she also curated exhibitions such as Between Poetry and Painting (1965), Cybernetic Serendipity (1968), and Play Orbit (1969). Here she gives us an insight into the context of the 1968 exhibition, and how it was organised. ■

Jasia Reichardt Fluorescent Chrysanthemum v3

Flourescent Chrysanthemum is on in the Fox Reading Room until 27 November.