The 81st Marks in Resonance: Wood Engraving Today
July 04, 2020 - September 06, 2020
EReopening of CCGA
ECOVID-19 Preventative Measures
Since its opening in 1995, the Center for Contemporary Graphic Art (CCGA) has been showcasing contemporary graphic art from Japan and overseas. 2020 will mark the 25th anniversary of our opening, and to commemorate this, we present the exhibition, ‘Marks in Resonance: Wood Engraving Today’.
Unlike standard woodcut prints made with a plate cut vertically from the tree trunk, of which ukiyo-e (traditional Japanese woodblock) prints form a prime example, wood engraving uses instead cross-sectional cuts, standardly from hardwood trees such as boxwood and camellias. It is a form of wood printing that offers the potential for highly intricate expression, using a tool known as an engraving burin predominantly used in intaglio printing.
The technique of wood engraving was developed in Great Britain at the end of the eighteenth century by Thomas Bewick, and gained popularity in the West, where it was used in combination with moveable type as a means for printing illustrations in books and newspapers. The technique arrived in Japan during the Meiji Era (1868-1912), where it was also used for printing illustrations, but fell out of popularity after the rise of photomechanical technologies such as offset printing.
The person who revived this ‘forgotten medium’ as an artistic technique in Japan was Takao Hiwasaki (1941-1992), who began to teach himself the method from the 1960s, and subsequently used it for creating work. The group Nomi no Kai [The Chisels], formed in the seventies around Hiwasaki and his one-time pupil Hitoshi Karasawa (1950-), had a large influence on spreading the recognition of wood engraving and establishing it as an art form within Japan. Ever since, successive generations of young artists have turned to wood engraving, the precise nature of their creative practice dictated by their own unique methodology.
Reasons for being drawn towards wood engraving vary: for some it is the power of the clean lines, both delicate and full of life, for others it is the unique sense of depth to that monochrome world, while still others are enticed by the hand-carved touch, which differs from both woodcut prints and etching. However, what all their works have in common is the density of the image, often with a highly symbolic or literary quality, which is developed within that decidedly diminutive area. The art form has thus seen a unique course of development within Japan.
In this exhibition we present an overview of wood engraving today, as seen through the works of thirteen contemporary artists. The engraved marks making up delicate poetic surfaces of their works seem to function as trace of the world that comes into being when the psyche of the creator encounters and resonates with the materiality of the wood. We also exhibit works by Takao Hiwasaki, pioneer of Japanese wood engraving, and prints made with an Albion press (an early iron hand printing press) that were presented to Japan during the Meiji Era. We hope that this exhibition will present many visitors with the opportunity to experience firsthand the delights of wood engraving.
Miyata 1, Shioda, Sukagawa-shi, Fukushima 962-0711, Japan
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (admission until 4:45 p.m.)
Every Monday (except August 10) and August 11
Adults 300 Yen, students 200 Yen.
Free for young children (through elementary school), senior citizens (65 and over) and the handicapped.
DNP Foundation for Cultural Promotion and Center for Contemporary Graphic Art
Junko Ogawa, Hitoshi Karasawa, Masahiro Kurita, Ryota Saito, Sho Tanaka, Takehiro Nikai, Kazuhiro Noguchi, Chie Hayashi, Shoko Bekki, Atsushi Matsuoka, Seiichiro Miida, Yoshiharu Mishio, Yoko Wakatsuki