Arts & Culture
FRIDAY JULY 16, 2021 |
One of the biggest challenges after the end of World War II was the formulation of new diplomatic and cultural ties between Japan and the United States. How were two hemispheres able to establish constructive relations after so much destruction? While Western diplomats and former military leaders held positions in Japan’s cultural hubs, many have found an answer in Japan’s new art scene, and with âGraphic Awakening,â The Ringling celebrates the most collected artist in Japan. this mid-century period, Saito Kiyoshi.
Born in Aizu, Fukushima prefecture in 1907, Saitohis career and his influences will lead him to become the leading figure of the sosaku hanga (Creative impressions) movement. The printmaking movement sought to honor Japan’s long history in the medium, but diverged in the process, with artists now opting for complete control over design, cutting and printing. It was a fine arts approach to printmaking largely influenced by greater travel and artistic cross-pollination of Japanese artists and Western artistic traditions. Sitting downo would even end up signing, naming and dating most of his pieces in English.
In terms of success, knowso was in the right artistic context for a captive audience in postwar Japan. The mid-century modern aesthetic combined with a renewed interest in Japanese art meant there was no shortage of foreign admirers and patrons. The understated sophistication of his prints seemed to complement the geometric forms of mid-century furniture and architecture. He won the Sao Paulo Biennial in 1951 and the Ljubljana Graphic Arts Biennial in 1957, putting him on the international map and helping to restore Japan’s printmaking prowess.
The “Graphic Awakening” exhibition began in many ways in 1953, when Karl and Madira Bickel organized a sosaku hanga exhibition at what is now Sarasota’s Art Center. They ended up donating some of these prints to The Ringling in 1961, including eight by SaitÅ (all eight are included in the exhibition). Then, in 2014, local collectors Robyn and Charles Citrin donated 100 works from the first half of the engraver’s career and were motivated to help The Ringling not only celebrate the artist’s prints but also contribute to the scientific objectives of the museum with the first full English -language monograph of his work.
Including the research and expertise of Dr. Rhiannon Paget of The Ringling as well as Japanese art scholars from around the world, the 200-page “Graphic Awakening” breaks down the aesthetic and historical facets of Saito’s work, retracing his evolution. since he started. Impressionist prints to his current Aizu landscapes, as well as Mondrian-esque prints depicting Japanese architecture.
As Dr Paget writes in his foreword, âthe variety of his work, his sublime sensibility to design, the breathtaking effects he has skillfully achieved from wood, ink and paper. , and its negotiation of local and international elements continue to soothe and excite the eye. . “
âGraphic Awakeningâ runs until August 15th. The monograph is available for purchase from most bookstores.