A new multimedia exhibition "The Art of Japan: from Hokusai to Modern Times" is opening at Artplay Media Center for Digital Art on November 29. The exhibition will include not only internationally known masterpieces of such masters of Japanese prints as Katsushika Hokusai, but also little-known to the general public works: women's portraits of the "last guru of the ukiyo-e era" Yoshitoshi Tsukioki and landscape prints Imao Kainen from the private gallery of Russian collector and connoisseur of Japanese culture Catherine Pugacheva.
Wooden ukiyo-e prints - "pictures of the changing world" - were perhaps the most striking phenomenon in Japan in the XVII-XIX centuries. They are the mirror of Japanese urban culture with its complex hierarchy, special language of allegories, allusions, symbols, its mythology, specific spirit of freedom and special aesthetics. It was engraving that made Japanese art famous in European countries. Thanks to it in XIX century "Japaneseism" penetrated into European painting and arts and crafts, influencing the impressionists, postimpressionists and masters of Art Nouveau. And yet for most people Japanese art remained a curiosity: paintings seemed like unfinished sketches, scrolls like wallpaper, and prints like caricatures. And even today many aspects of Japanese art are not fully understood by the Western viewer.
At the multimedia exhibition at Artplay Media four traditional genres of prints come to life in front of the viewer: bijinga (depiction of beauties from "merry neighborhoods"), fukeiga (landscape), katyoga (flowers and birds), musya-e (depiction of warriors). And the voice-over text, recorded for the exhibition by Dmitry Kovalenin, will help understand Japanese mythology and symbolism.
Dmitry Kovalenin is a writer and orientalist, translator of such contemporary Japanese writers as Haruki Murakami, Machi Tawara, Iori Fujiwara, Kotaro Takamura, Yoko Ogawa, Sayaka Murata. Kovalenin is also known as the author of a unique two-volume monograph on the life and works of Haruki Murakami ("Sushi-Noir. The Amusing MurakamiEducation") and the book "Koro-Koro", a collection of short prose, stories and essays about contemporary Japan.