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"From Woodblocks to Comics: The Japanese Impression"
2003-08-07 until 2001-01-15
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Wellington, , NZ New Zealand (Aotearoa)

From Woodblocks to Comics is a small exhibition that brings together traditional Japanese ukiyo-e (floating world) woodblocks; prints and watercolours by European artists; and manga (Japanese comics). Japanese and European artists across time have drawn on other cultures for inspiration. This exhibition traces these influences through two hundred years - from traditional woodblocks to modern comics.

From classical Chinese painters Japanese artists borrowed the flat perspective that became a hallmark of their own art. In their ukiyo-e printmaking they developed their own delicate and graceful style that captured the work and pleasures of everyday folk. When these prints reached Europe, this distinctively Japanese look began to appear in the work of European artists.

In manga, or Japanese comics, East and West came together in another way. The traditional woodcut, combined with the action and style of American comics, quickly gained a huge following. Western pop culture had arrived in Japan.

Several works from Te Papa's collection are shown, and include prints by Hiroshige, Toulouse-Lautrec, Manet, Toyokuni I, Toyokuni III, Pissarro, and Daumier. Two Manga by Kosuke Fujishima, Kazuo Koike, and Goseki Kojima are also displayed.

For conservation reasons, the Japanese ukiyo-e prints will be replaced with other ukiyo-e prints after three months. These very old prints were made using vegetable dyes that are extremely light sensitive and can fade very quickly.

IMAGE
Maisaka. Plate 31 (Kyoka state).
From the series: Fifty three stations of the Tokaido Road,
late 1830s by Utagawa Hiroshige, (1797-1858), Japan


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