Latvia | Stories from Japan - graphic arts exhibition
The Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art Centre in Latvia presents 'Stories of Japan', an exhibition of Japanese graphic art. The exhibition features nine contemporary Japanese printmakers and runs till 20 June 2021.
Nine contemporary Japanese printmakers have come together to tell us their stories through this exhibition. The group includes Hiroaki Miyayama, Yoshio Imamura, Takasuke Nakayama, Suzuki Toshiya, Toshiko Hishida, Kyoko Sato, Ayumi Morioka, Mihoko Sekiguchi and Masaaki Ohnuma.
According to Hiroaki Miyayama, one of the exhibition participants and long-term president of Printsaurus International Print Exchange Association of Japan, “in Europe, there were Ancient Greek myths and the Bible, in Japan – the Tale of Genji (源氏物語) and Ogura Hyakunin Isshu or One Hundred Poems by One Hundred Poets (百人一首) which have inspired artists for centuries”.
As befits stories, they are as different as their narrators and cover different times and situations. The stories are both incredibly realistic and fantastically universal and are all united by something simple yet complex – the relationship between humans and nature. The exhibition stories show both “the thrill of early summer when a southern breeze gently rocks the willow”, as well as something as mundane and beautiful as the play of morning light on glass, depicted in a quintessentially Japanese aesthetic. One author shows an imaginary landscape, a fantastic setting, whilst another is concerned with the relationship between nature, the individual and society. There is also tension and dynamism in the rhythmic patterns of simple lines, and an almost scientific study of the play of tints and hues in a colour spectrum that tells the story of light, time and space. Even observation of insect life and soil inspires one to reflect about one’s relationship with the Universe. “One day my heart was stirred by the beauty of the layers of soil near my house. To my eyes, they appeared as fragments of the vast Universe. I was thrilled to find that the place where I’d lived since childhood was a part of the wider world,” says artist Suzuki Toshiya.
All the exhibition participants are members of the Japan Print Association and/or Printsaurus International Print Exchange Association of Japan. They are internationally renowned artists whose works are held in prominent museum and gallery collections.