A new Wave of Japanese Printmaking

Koyuki Kazahaya

This exhibition focuses on Japanese young contemporary printmakers: seven artists who studied at Musashino Art University in Tokyo and continued working as artists after their graduation. Their works, even if different, coincide in their way of struggle and finding the essence of expression in the process through printmaking (drawing, using layers, printing etc…), using various techniques (Intaglio, lithograph, woodcut and silkscreen). This means that elements of printmaking process become an essential part in the creation of their artwork. In their work, you can see the presence of nature, climate humidity, the change of seasons or a desire for the inner picturesque, which may be related to Japanese introverted personality.

The Japanese scholar Okakura Kakuzo (1862-1913), a writer who had great influence upon modern Japanese art), said in “The Ideals of the East” and in “The book of tea”: We know instinctively that in our history lies the secret of our future. Change is the only Eternal.

The title “New wave of Japanese printmaking” is inspired by “The great wave of Kanagawa” which is one of the most famous works from Hokusai. This image has become one of the most recurrent when referring to Japanese printmaking. However, Japanese printmaking has changed and received influences from other cultures and movements making it evolve at the same time that uses the essence of its history as a background. This title refers to constant movement and how Japanese printmaking hasn’t stayed stocked into the past and has become something alive that renews itself with “new waves” of artists who incorporate new elements into the existing base culture. It would be great if this will be the answer to the question of what contemporary Japanese printmaking is.

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