A really interesting sounding exhibition opened in London this weekend and, although I won’t be able to get to it myself until next week, I wanted to tell you all about it now so you can go along too. It really does sound quite special!
An Immersive Exhibition of Katsushika Hokusai Works and “Re-create”
The Old Truman Brewery, London, 26 Oct – 17 Nov 2013
Hokusai Exposed presents some of the most iconic works of the great Japanese Master, Katsushika Hokusai, “re-created” using state-of the-art digital technology, as well as the vibrant streets and pleasure districts of Edo, 18th century Tokyo. The world of ukiyo-e style woodblock prints will be brought to life in a unique event which engages all the senses and is the first showcase of the “re-create” concept outside of Japan.
A highlight will be re-creations of Hokusai’s famed 36 Views of Mount Fuji, a fitting tribute to Mount Fuji’s June 2013 inscription onto the UNESCO World Heritage list as both a sacred place and a source of artistic inspiration. In a restricted 18-plus area, traditional Japanese red paper lanterns, chōchin, will guide visitors through the nighttime pleasure districts of Edo’s backstreets to illuminate 48 re-created prints, including some of Hokusai’s more sensual work in a style known as shunga. A detailed narrative alongside these works will lead to a 3D display of the notorious Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife.
“Re-create” is a concept and innovative technology developed in Japan by award-winning scientist and author Dr. Shinichi Fukuoka. Using cutting-edge digital mastering and UV printing technology, “re-create” seeks to replicate the colour and details of works of art when they were first painted or printed, allowing the user to get a sense of the impact of the original work and the intent of the artist. Since these “re-creations” are not “original” works of art, they do not require strict protection from light and damage, making it possible for visitors to really get up close and personal with Hokusai.
Hokusai was a master of the woodblock printing style known as ukiyo-e (floating world pictures), which depicted the everyday life and popular entertainment of the time. The original ukiyo-e were produced by intricately carving blocks of wood in relief, according to a master drawing, then pressing paper to the inked blocks to print the design. The enlarged prints at this exhibition have been specially prepared through the “re-create” process, allowing the timeless impact of Hokusai’s compositions and the incredible intricacy of the prints carved by Edo woodblock craftsmen to be seen in unsurpassed detail for the first time outside of Japan. Hokusai Exposed will also feature the latest projection mapping technology, mixing high impact graphics to create an unforgettable multi-media experience.
Best known for his iconic Great Wave off Kanagawa, Hokusai’s work numbers more than 30,000 original prints, including landscapes, the natural world, manga, and shunga. His body of works forms an exciting and vivid social record of the Edo period (1603 to 1868), one of the most colourful times in Japanese history. Hokusai’s work is also the acknowledged inspiration for today’s influential Japanese pop culture movements such as manga and anime.
Hokusai was selected by Life magazine as one of the most important 100 people in the past 1000 years, and he has had far reaching influence. A host of artists, including Manet, Degas, Renoir, Monet, van Gogh, Lautrec, and Gauguin bear his thumbprint, while composers including Debussy, Stravinsky and Satie also translated the inspiration stirred by the art of Hokusai into their music. His mark can also be felt in influential Japanese pop culture movement today, such as manga and anime.
Hokusai Exposed opened on Saturday 26th October and runs until Sunday 17th November at The Old Truman Brewery, Ely’s Yard, 15 Hanbury Street, London E1 6QR. Tickets are £5. Please note the basement area will be a restricted over 18 area. Advance tickets available online. Opening times: Sunday to Thursday 10am to 6pm, Friday and Saturday 10am to 9pm.
(Press release and images courtesy of Hokusai Exposed)