About the Exhibition

Variaciones y autonomía. Grabados contemporáneos de Japón

Info

Closed Began 18 JULY 2017 Ended 20 AUGUST 2017

  • Hours Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. | Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Number of Works 36
  • Room Room 41 "y 42" (second floor)
  • Curator Kyoji TAKIZAWA

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The Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes present the exhibition Variations and Autonomy. Contemporary Prints from Japan, organized jointly by the Cultural Center of the Japanese Embassy, the Japan Foundation and Evaristo Cultural, and curated by Kyoji Takizawa, from the Museum of Graphic Arts of the City of Machida.

By way of 36 prints created by artists over the last 70 years, we can glimpse the imprint of an age-old tradition brought up-to-date through an appeal to ancient techniques – woodcut, lithograph, silkscreen – that allow them to take up the classic themes of world art.
 
Artists: Masanari MURAI, Toshinobu ONOSATO, Yasukazu TABUCHI, Yayoi KUSAMA, Natsuyuki NAKANISHI, Hitoshi NAKAZATO, Tomoharu MURAKAMI, Naoyoshi HIKOSAKA, Kosai HORI, Toeko TATSUNO.

Toward the end of the 18th century the mysterious Sengai, a Zen monk who used the engraving as a medium for spreading
doctrine, put forward, in his work The Universe, made up of a triangle, a circle and a square, the notion that mathematics is the
secret language of creation. In so doing he set out a great challenge to the democratic, popular art of the Japanese print, up to then limited to landscape and the depiction of custom and manners. The Japanese print, developed in critical counterpoint with
calligraphy and drawing, attributed to literate aristocratic culture, with characteristics tending toward abstraction, would gain
renown and worldwide influence through figures such as Hiroshige, Utamaro and the already iconic Hokusai.
Two centuries later, the contemporary printmakers of what would be the Empire of the Rising Sun, transformed today into a thriving country in the no longer very Far or very exotic East, explicitly take up Sengai's aporia as a bid to construct a new art. An art which epitomizes the tensions of a nation which experiences the dialectic between modernity and tradition as one of its crucial components, in a dialogue out of which arise the traits that identify the powerful image with which, once they are reread, the images of the past question the present.

It is our honor at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes to present in our galleries the exhibition Variations and Autonomy. Contemporary Prints from Japan, curated by Kyoji Takizawa, of the Museum of International Printmaking Arts, in the city of Machida. By way of 36 prints created by artists over the last 70 years, we can glimpse the imprint of an age-old tradition brought up-to-date through an appeal to ancient techniques – woodcut, lithograph, silkscreen – that allow them to take up the classic themes of world art.

Andrés Duprat
Director Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes