Tiger | Tanuki was founded by Malene Wagner in 2014 to promote Japanese art and culture via an informal aesthetic approach with the aim to inspire art and design enthusiasts and collectors across generations.
Malene, a Danish art historian, specialising in Japanese art and japonisme, holds an M.A. in Art History from the University of Copenhagen and has extensive experience from working in the international museum, auction and art publishing world, having lived in both Denmark, Australia and United Kingdom.
Malene first visited Japan as a two-year-old with her parents and siblings and was brought up with the culture of East Asia, spending time in both China, South Korea and Japan. This led to her innate love for the art and culture, especially that of Japan.
In 2017, Malene was invited to meet then Crown Prince Naruhito at the Japanese Embassy in Denmark as an acknowledgement of her work in promoting Japanese art in Denmark.
Her publications include Apollo Magazine, Kinfolk, Japanomania in the Nordic Countries, Journal of Japonisme and Impressions of the East. Malene also writes for the British Japan Society. You can read her review of the British Museum's Manga マンガ (2019) exhibition here. Furthermore, Malene curates exhibitions in Denmark and the UK and gives talks and lectures on Japanese art and culture internationally.
The name Tiger | Tanuki reflects the spirit of Japan and the foundation of this company. The tiger (Jap. tora), although not native to Japan, plays a significant role in Japanese art, signifying the virtue of courage as well as harmony of the opposites. Being introduced to Japan through Buddhism, the tiger is in some instances seen as the emblem of the West and in this context points to the cultural exchange between East and West. The tanuki, one the other hand, is found in Japanese mythology and with its supernatural powers has a more humorous and gentle side to it (although it often acts mischievously). A racoon-like dog with a long fuzzy tail, the tanuki is characterised by its large scrotum with which it can drape itself or use as an umbrella on rainy days among other things. To us the tanuki represents creativity and informality.