U.Va. Art Museum Showcases Four Centuries Of Japanese Priints In New Exhibit
August 5, 2005 --
What: Special Exhibition — “Insistent Absence: The Unacknowledged Influence of Ukiyo-e on Modern Japanese Prints”
When: Friday, Sept. 2 - Sunday, Oct. 16
Where: U.Va. Art Museum
WHO: Sandy Kita, exhibition curator and professor, art and design, Chatham College, Pittsburgh, Pa.
WHAT: Gallery Talk: Saturday, Sept. 3, 2 p.m
WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 3, 2 p.m.
WHERE: U.Va. Art Museum
It is widely assumed today that 17th through 19th century Ukiyo-e (“pictures of the floating world”) and modern Japanese woodblock prints have no relationship. The basis of this assumption, according to exhibition curator Sandy Kita, a professor of arts and design at Chatham College, is that during the 20th century Japanese woodblock prints ceased to be made as they were earlier by a team of artisans; an artist drawing a composition: a cutter cutting the design into the wooden blocks, and a rubber making the prints. Instead, one artist did all these tasks.
“Insistent Absence,” a special exhibition at the U.Va. Art Museum, explores the connections between these two periods and modes of production. The title is derived from a phrase used by Igarashi Yoshikuni in his book “Bodies of Memory: Narratives of War in Postwar Japanese Culture”, about the degree to which Japan today tries to forget World War II, which he calls an “insistent absence.”
This difference between modern and 17th through 19th century Japanese prints is important, Kita said, in that artists, by taking ownership of both the cutting and printing processes, made more individualistic prints. “Although we cannot deny the importance of this
change in technique by which prints were made,” he said, “it is also true that there were strong connections between the earlier and modern Japanese prints in terms of style. These connections become especially clear when we examine 17th through 19th century Ukiyo-e as products of an early modern culture and are able to fully understand the individuality of the Ukiyo-e artist. In so doing, one realizes how Ukiyo-e is similar to modern Japanese prints in exposing the artifice of art, drawing impossible scenes in meticulous detail, mixing fantasy and reality, subverting authority and challenging received wisdom.”
The exhibition features prints in the museum’s Ukiyo-e collection and the modern Japanese woodblock print collection of Lila Penchansky and Daniel Russel, Pittsburgh collectors, whose landscapes by Kawase Hasui recently were the subject of an exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Art.
The U.Va. Art Museum is open to the public free of charge Tuesday through Sunday, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
For details about the exhibit or information about the museum, call (434) 924-3592, or visit the museum’s Web site at http://www.virginia.edu/artmuseum.
Contact: Jane Ford, (434) 924-4298