Traumatic Memory • William Kentridge • Combat Paper Project • Eric

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The Global Journal of Prints and Ideas
January – February 2017
Volume 6, Number 5
Traumatic Memory • William Kentridge • Combat Paper Project • Eric Avery • China 1946 • Japanese War Games
Gerald Cramer • Marcantonio • Kingdom of Images • Associated American Artists • Garo Antreasian • News
January – February 2017
Volume 6, Number 5
In This Issue
Susan Tallman
Susan Tallman
On Trauma
Associate Publisher
Julie Bernatz
Kate McCrickard
William Kentridge:
Drawing Has its Own Memory
Managing Editor
Isabella Kendrick
Associate Editor
Julie Warchol
Manuscript Editor
Prudence Crowther
Online Columnist
Sarah Kirk Hanley
Catherine Bindman
Design Director
Skip Langer
Jared Ash
The Combat Paper Project
Marjorie B. Cohn
Eric Avery’s AIDS Works
Shaoqian Zhang
Woodcuts in the Aftermath of War
Rhiannon Paget
Sugoroku of Imperial and Wartime Japan
Exhibition Reviews
Paul Coldwell
Gérald Cramer in Geneva
Genevieve Verdigel
Stepping out of Raphael’s Shadow
Carand Burnet
Creative Printmakers in Japan
Book Reviews
Victoria Sancho Lobis
French Prints in the Age of Louis XIV
On the Mailing Bag: Eric Avery, RX (2014–16)
for Art in Art in Print. Original artwork letterpressprinted by the artist and Dave DiMarchi.
Cover: Eli Wright, Broken Soldiers (2009),
screenprint on hand-stitched handmade paper
from military uniforms. Courtesy the artist.
This Page: William Kentridge, detail of
Four Instruments (2003), drypoint. Printed
by Randy Hemminghaus, Galamander Press,
New York. Published by David Krut, New York.
Art in Print
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No part of this periodical may be published
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Brian D. Cohen
Art in (Middle) America
Peter S. Briggs
Garo Antreasian and
American Lithography
Prix de Print, No. 21
Juried by Trevor Winkfield
A Cloud in Trousers
by Thorsten Dennerline
Art in Art in Print Number 6
Eric Avery
Print Life: Neurogenesis 2016
News of the Print World
Art in Print is supported in part
by an award from the
National Endowment for the Arts.
Art Works.
Sharpened Imagination:
Creative Printmakers in Japan
By Carand Burnet
Hamanishi Katsunori, Japanese Classic Calendar (2015), mezzotint printed in color, each panel 59.6 x 36.1 cm (quadriptych). Art Museum, University of
Saint Joseph, West Hartford, CT. Purchase with a gift from Edwina Bosco ’50. ©Hamanishi Katsunori.
“Hanga Now:
Contemporary Japanese Printmakers”
University of Saint Joseph Art Museum
West Hartford, CT
23 September – 18 December 2016
ttenuated lines, shimmering gilding, gossamer textures and deft
compositions suffused the exhibition
“Hanga Now: Contemporary Japanese
Printmakers” at the University of Saint
Joseph in Hartford. More than 60 woodcuts, etchings, lithographs and monotypes by 35 artists—most produced
during the past 25 years—attest to the
ongoing vitality of Japan’s sōsaku-hanga
(creative print) movement. Selected by
curator Ann Sievers, these prints do not
ask the viewer to gaze from afar; they
beckon us closer.
The famous ukiyo-e prints of the 18th
and 19th centuries are often aesthetically
pleasing but were intended as commercial products, made to reflect the market rather than personal expression, and
they were produced through a system of
specialized painters, block cutters, printers and publishers, working in separate
Art in Print January – February 2017
stages. In the first decade of the 20th
century, however, artists such as Hakutei
Ishii, Kanae Yamamoto and Kogan Tobari
adopted the European practice of designing, cutting and printing their own works
in small editions.
Sōsaku-hanga brought the Western
emphasis on individuality to bear on
Japanese techniques and aesthetics. Moving away from the popular-cultural subjects of ukiyo-e, these artists explored
landscapes and figures that offered an
opportunity for abstraction and creative
manipulation. They also strove to make
visible the singular characteristics of the
artist’s hand, as is evident in Yamamoto’s
woodblock Fisherman (1904), where rough
carved lines contour the figure and setting.1 After World War II, the reputation
of such prints grew, both inside and outside Japan. Once scorned by critics and
categorized as a craft (and labeled as such
by the Japan Art Academy to this day), 2 by
1951 sōsaku-hanga had gained global stature: in that year’s São Paulo Art Biennial
the only Japanese artists to win awards
were the printmakers Tetsuro Komai and
Kiyoshi Saito.
The quintessence of harmony—a
time-honored Japanese value—is apparent in the technical control of breathtaking mezzotints by Yozo Hamaguchi
(1909–2000), Toru Iwaya (b. 1936) and
Katsunori Hamanishi (b. 1949). Hamaguchi’s Field on Deep Blue (1985–1992)
presents a band of multicolored striations
that emerge from navy-colored paper—
a hilly landscape distilled into a gradient
structure of color, shadow and highlights.
Reika Iwami (b. 1927), a pioneering
woman in the creative print movement,
incorporates both the real and the mystical in lyrical terrains. In Water of Mt.
Fuji (2002) she omits most physical detail,
disrupting the silhouette of Japan’s iconic
mountain with a vaporous gray pattern
suggestive of clouds or undulating water,
and a waving band of gold leaf that glistens like a river. Such material enhancements of the paper surface are frequent in
her work: the black background in Poem
of Water (1971) is strewn with glittering dust, causing it to appear to levitate
in the light, and Border of the Sea God’s
Realm (1999) includes an embossed teardrop-sized silhouette that hovers over
Left: Goto Hidehiko, Silent Light from the portfolio Hope: Aspirations in the Abstract (2012), woodcut printed in color, 49.5 x 37.5 cm. Art Museum,
University of Saint Joseph, West Hartford, CT. Purchase with a gift from Edwina Bosco ’50. ©Goto Hidehiko. Right: Tamekane Yoshikatsu, White Nocturne
(1997), woodcut, gold leaf, embossing and mica powder, 50.8 x 69.9 cm. Collection of Ronald A. and Pamela J. Lake. ©Tamekane Yoshikatsu.
a topography of roaming shapes. The
woodblocks of Hidehiko Goto (b. 1953)
evoke the movement of water even more
abstractly: in Silent Light (2012) the grain
of the woodblock provides an illusion of
liquid condensation within a rectilinear
composition veiled in a blue.
One of the striking features of these
prints is the abundance of gold leaf. More
than a third of the works on view incorporated gold, and not only in woodblock.
Shuji Wako’s (b. 1953) immaculately composed Right on Target (2007) uses lithography’s tonal attributes to render a peculiar,
if visually convincing, still life—a fragile
ball supporting a target pierced by two
arrows, perched above carefully drawn
kimono fabric. Each of these objects is
elaborately embellished with gold leaf.
Unlike Wako, Yoshikatsu Tamekane
(b. 1959) exploits gold leaf as an adaptable,
textural medium that can be lightened,
layered or obscured. The thinly applied,
irregular gold in the corner of his abstract
woodblock and collagraph print White
Nocturne (1997) reveals color beneath its
radiant surface.
Natural forms and materials are only
part of the story, however. Sōsaku-hanga
artists have also explored found and
prefabricated images, adapting, collaging and recomposing them as personal
statements. Tetsuya Noda’s (b. 1940)
Diary 471 Dec 26 ’09 (2009) is part of an
ongoing project—now totaling over 500
prints—based on memories illustrated in
the artist’s journal. An open cookie box,
seen from above, is tinted with green and
yellow, recalling the hand-colored albumen prints that were widely popular in
Japan in the mid- to late-19th century.
Other artists favor bold color and pattern: in Yuji Hiratsuka’s (b. 1954) etching
and aquatint Medieval River (2016), violet
water is enclosed by pink-shaded, snowy
ground. The repeating branches, leaves
and flowers of the multicolored forest
merges into a wondrous, chromatic tapestry.
Nobuyuki Oura’s (b. 1949) Holding Perspective Portfolio (1981–1983) appropriates
and juxtaposes popular images—historical photographs, anatomical illustrations, natural specimens—in complex,
symbolic self-portraits in screenprint and
lithography. The overlaid parts combine
in ways that recall Japanese textile patterns, but his work exhibits the complexities of Japanese identity within a global
contemporary art world. (The inclusion
of photographs of Emperor Hirohito
within Holding Perspective was perceived
as disrespectful by the prefecture of
Toyama, and museum catalogues containing the work were destroyed.) 3
All the prints in “Hanga Now: Contemporary Japanese Printmakers,” demonstrate precision, and no space on the
paper goes unnoticed. The innovative
work of sōsaku-hanga printmakers exudes
everything from a refreshing simplicity
to incredible complexity, as their one-ofa-kind viewpoints are honed from a sensitivity to their medium. “Creative”
printmakers are always alert to the
nuances of their own lyrical vision, and
“Hanga Now” is no exception. Printmaking in Japan is alive and well, shining with
grace and possibility.
Carand Burnet is an essayist, poet and
arts correspondent.
1. There was also a concurrent movement in
modern Japanese printmaking that revived the
collaborative system, known as shin-hanga, or
“new print.”
2. Michiaki Kawakita, “The Modern Japanese
Print,” in Contemporary Japanese Prints, tr. John
Bester (Tokyo and Palo Alto: Kodansha International, 1967), xiii–xv.
3. Tomo Kosuga, “The Art of Taboo: Nobuyuki
Oura,” Vice Magazine video, 7:58, 21 October
Art in Print January – February 2017