Art What! Arts Preview

Art What!: Attack on Titan – The Exhibition at ArtScience Museum

If it’s one anime series that has broken into the mainstream and seen huge success in recent years, it’s Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyoujin). Set in a post-apocalyptic world where humans live in a walled off city, constantly in fear of giant grotesque ‘titans’ invading and consuming them, the series has won praise for its storytelling, arresting visuals, and unforgettable characters.

Of course, like many anime series, Attack on Titan in fact, originated from a manga. Created, written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama, the series ran for 12 years before concluding in April 2021, spawning live-film adaptations and captivating a global fanbase with over 100 million copies of the manga sold in print. As of now, the anime is finally catching up as Part 2 of The Final Season airs weekly on Netflix. And to celebrate it all, the ArtScience Museum is hosting SPACElogic’s Attack on Titan: The Exhibition in its Southeast Asian premiere, as it draws visitors in Isayama’s master storytelling, artistic vision and vivid characters.

Featuring over 180 artworks by Hajime Isayama ranging from the manga’s earliest days to the present, Attack on Titan: The Exhibition will also showcase new pieces that have not been displayed anywhere else in the world, alongside drafts and sketches from his archives. Visitors and fans alike will be able to step into Hajime Isayama’s sprawling dystopia, which will include an immersive animated battle sequence set in The Great Titan Theatre as well as displays of Titans, characters, and objects from the manga.

Hajime Isayama made the following comment when Attack on Titan FINAL Exhibition was held in Japan in 2019: “It has already been 10 years since I started writing Attack on Titan. I would first like to thank all the readers and parties involved for their company throughout all these years. Heading towards the end of the series, I am currently doing everything I can so that your reaction will be “I am glad I kept reading until now”. I hope you enjoy the Attack on Titan FINAL Exhibition and I would be happy if you continue engaging with Attack on Titan in the future.”

“Since then, the series has come to an end, but I’m not sure if everyone here is thinking ‘I am glad I have been reading this’. However, my feelings have not changed. Today, I hope you enjoy Attack on Titan: The Exhibition and I would be happy if you continue to immerse yourself in the world of Attack on Titan and engage with the characters as you like,” he added.

“Singapore is a familiar place for me as it was my first ever trip abroad, both personally and for work. I gave a lecture on Attack on Titan at the National University of Singapore and also travelled there with Isayama-sensei for a separate holiday. I have many wonderful memories of Singapore and it would not be an exaggeration to say that holding Attack on Titan: The Exhibition here was a long-cherished wish of ours. We look forward to sharing new and wonderful memories with the people of Singapore, and hope to see you all at the exhibition!” said Shintaro Kawakubo, Attack on Titan Editor, Weekly Shonen Jump Editorial Department, Kodansha.

The first iteration of Attack on Titan: The Exhibition attracted over 450,000 visitors during its presentation across Japan from 2014 and 2015. It has since expanded to incorporate new artwork and content from the final chapters of the manga. This presentation at ArtScience Museum marks the overseas debut of the exhibition in its latest form.

“ArtScience Museum is delighted to be working with SPACElogic and the Attack on Titan team in Japan to bring this cultural phenomenon to Singapore for the first time. With Attack on Titan: The Exhibition, our visitors will encounter the creative vision behind one of the world’s most successful manga stories, seeing why the series has gained such international acclaim for its compelling characters, complex themes and technical artistry,” said Honor Harger, Vice President of Attractions, Marina Bay Sands.

“Launching this exhibition as Attack on Titan’s latest episodes reach our screens couldn’t be more timely. At first glance, Hajime Isayama’s science fiction world may seem remote to the reality we live in now. However, if we dig deeper into Attack on Titan, themes like hope and perseverance emerge as common threads. We also witness the resilience and resourcefulness of the characters as they overcome the consequences of an epidemic in their own world. Stories such as Attack on Titan provide many of us with a sense of escapism, but they can also remind us of our humanity and courage when facing difficult circumstances,” added Harger.

In the series, a faction of humanity lives on an island surrounded by huge walls that protect them from the Titans while others live outside. Visitors entering the exhibition will have the option of picking a route and starting their journey as someone born inside or outside the walls. As the paths diverge, the opposing factions will focus on different aspects of the battle – the Devils residing on Paradis Island and the Warriors bent on destroying the walls – before they converge in an inevitable collision.

In the next zone, visitors will get a glimpse of the world of Titans who appear to leap from the pages and wall panels. Visitors will learn more about iconic characters like Eren, Mikasa, Armin, Levi, Reiner, and Erwin as they fight for survival and unravel the mystery of Titans. Through Hajime Isayama’s drawings, the exhibition will explore the manga’s worldview from various perspectives as well as showcase the evolution of his art. The artworks include early concept drawings and storyboards with dialogue handwritten by Hajime Isayama himself.

Another highlight of the exhibition is The Great Titan Theatre, where visitors will be able to witness an epic clash between the Attack and Armoured Titan. As the battle unfolds across a 10-metre screen, visitors will be presented with a spectacle set among the ruins of a battlefield.

The exhibition will include an interview with Hajime Isayama, who will speak about the manga and reflect on the decade he spent creating it. In addition to its immersive environment, interactive displays, and behind-the-scenes content, the exhibition will mark the manga’s conclusion and the anime’s final season. Attack on Titan fans will be able to buy exclusive merchandise that can only be found at the exhibition store and pose with their favourite characters and Titans at a photobooth.

“As the global phenomenon of Japan’s manga industry continues to rise, we wanted to showcase a unique experience that delves deeper into the world of Attack on Titan. This is an especially significant journey for SL Experiences as it is our very first licensed exhibition, which we hope to bring many more of in the future. We are truly honoured to be bestowed the trust of the Attack on Titan committee and PIA Global to develop an experience that would befit this multiaward winning Japanese manga created by Hajime Isayama. Making its premiere in Southeast Asia at ArtScience Museum, we hope that everyone can experience the beauty of this hugely successful manga as the exhibition offers one of the biggest and most comprehensive experience for visitors,” said Augustus Peh, Chairman and Founder of SPACElogic and SL Experiences.

Attack on Titan: The Exhibition runs from 19th February to 3rd July 2022 at the ArtScience Museum. Tickets and more information available here

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