The Royal Academy Schools and Tokyo University of Arts Exchange Programme
Plus interview with young artist Yu Kadota


The Keeper of the Royal Academy, Professor Maurice Cockrill, RA, and Yu Kadota

The Royal Academy Schools, which is located in Burlington Gardens, to the rear of the Royal Academy, famous for its annual Summer Exhibition and other major exhibitions, was established in the 18th century as the first art school to provide professional training for artist in Britain. It is now the leading postgraduate institution in this country and has a major international reputation that attracts students from all over the world.


Amongst its students there have been many from Japan who have brought with them their own ideas and influences from their cultural background. This interest in Japan and its contemporary art world prompted the Royal Academy Schools to join with the Graduate School of Fine Arts at the Tokyo University of Arts in establishing an exchange programme for their graduate students. This programme was established in October of last year with funding help from the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and is now in its first year of the programme.


The first student from Tokyo University of Arts is Yu Kadota who arrived in Britain this May for a 10 week stay. During this time he has had use of studio space in the Schools and tutorials from the staff as well as the opportunity to learn about Britain and make the contacts within the art world.


Liam O'Brien, part-time tutor at the Schools and co-ordinator for the exchange held the following interview with Yu Kadota:


Liam O'Brien: Why did you apply for this exchange programme?
Yu Kadota: I wanted to expand my horizons outside of my experience at Tokyo University of the Arts. The Royal Academy Schools is very famous and a bit different from Geidai (Tokyo University of the Arts) and it seemed a good opportunity to live for a short time in another culture.

Liam O'Brien: Although your time in the UK has not been so long, what were your first impressions?
Yu Kadota: In Japan the traditional and modern culture runs in parallel. They do not inter-mix but live side by side. I felt that things are different here, that different views and traditions inter-mix and are not so separate as it seems to be in Japan. I guess we feel that the modern part of our culture is not really our own. Maybe this is why we keep the modern and traditional separate.

Liam O'Brien: Do you have any favourite British artist?
Yu Kadota: To be honest, in Japan I didn't study so much about contemporary British artists! But I guess I like sculptor Anish Kapoor.

Liam O'Brien: What do you like about his work?
Yu Kadota: Well. He deals with primal images and the play between the real and imaginary. Like 'Alice Through the Looking Glass' - reflections and mirrors play with this boundary. I am interested in my own work with 'inside' and 'outside'.

Liam O'Brien: How do you think your visit will influence you in the future?
Yu Kadota: I can't say at the moment what the influences will be but when I am back in Japan and have time to reflect on it, I am sure I will find some influences. I am sure that even though my stay was not so long it will change my ways of working and thinking.


















Bride mirror and solder by Yu kadota


Liam O'Brien

Exchange Programme Coordinator