'Photographs from the Floating World' refers to the famous woodblock prints made by masters such as Hokusai, Hiroshige and Kuniyoshi under the name 'Ukiyo-e', pictures of the floating world. In this centuries-long tradition, artists and artisans made beautiful, stylised artworks with themes such as beautiful women, actors, historic events and folk tales, travel scenes, landscapes and erotica. The development of photography is one of the causes of the demise of this art form, as the labour-intensive cutting and printing could be replaced by the quicker and simpler processes of photography making realistic pictures reachable for the masses. In recent years, more and more photographers are showing a longing for the traditional themes of Ukiyo-e and are also focusing on long-forgotten printing techniques.
IBASHO would like to present works by four artists who are celebrating the traditional themes of the floating world in specific ways. Taichi Gondaira has made it his mission to recreate the world of Ukiyo-e in photographs and combines this with the platinum-palladium print technique of the early days of photography on hand-made Japanese Gambi paper. The traditional world of the geisha, which still exists in places such as Kyoto, is the subject of Naoyuki Ogino's Komomo series. He follows a young girl that is being educated in the ancient ways of the geisha. Keiichi Ito portrays the revered cherry trees (Sakura) through the seasons, showing the blossoms in their full glory, but also how the ancient trees are being supported and protected to continue to enchant millions of people every season. He also uses platinum-palladium printing on hand-made Japanese paper to enhance the traditional feel of the images. Yoshihiro Tatsuki takes a lighter approach, very much in tune with some ukiyo-e artists, and portrays traditionally-clothed women, children and dolls in beautiful landscapes around themes of seasons, humor and death.
Last minute special event:
The son of the artist Taichi Gondaira, Tomohiro, will play the traditional Japanese instrument the Shamisen on Saturday 9 May at 16:00. His mother will also be present in traditional kimono.