You are here

Artist Talk: Traditions Transfigured—The Noh Masks of Bidou Yamaguchi

March 26, 2015
Morton Auditorium
Free with museum admission

Noh masks are the embodiment of the Japanese aesthetic of yugen, translated as “profound or mysterious elegance.” As a master of Noh mask carving, Bidou Yamaguchi (b. 1970) combines a reverence for the long tradition of Noh with a contemporary sensibility in order to create never-before-seen mask forms. Originally from Fukuoka, Japan, Yamaguchi studied Noh mask carving with Gendou Ogawa, a Living National Treasure, before receiving his “master’s name” of Bidou in 1996.

Bidou carves masks on request for Noh plays as well as for museum collections, and his work is part of the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Nihon University (Tokyo), and Target Corporation. The exhibition Traditions Transfigured:The Noh Masks of Bidou Yamaguchi opened at the University Art Museum of California State University at Long Beach accompanied by a full catalogue and is currently on view at the Northern Illinois University Art Museum from March 24 until May 22.

For this artist talk, Bidou speaks about the art of his craft as well as his quest for new expression.

Affiliate Group: 

Bidou Yamaguchi. Mona Lisa, 2003. Collection of Kelly Sutherlin McLeod and Steve McLeod.