Exhibition: Japanese Prints of the 1970s

In collaboration with Victoria Memorial Hall and The Japan Foundation, Consulate General of Japan in Kolkata organized an exhibition which focuses on print expressions from the 1970s as seen in the work of 14 artists who helped develop a print movement in the world of Japanese contemporary art.

His Excellency the Governor of West Bengal, Shri Keshari Nath Tripathi, inaugurated the Exhibition on Saturday, 9 December 2017 at the Entrance Hall of Victoria Memorial Hall.
Parliamentary Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Government of Japan, Mr. Iwao Horii, also graced the occasion in addition to Mr. Masayuki Taga, Consul General of Japan in Kolkata, Mr. Kaoru Miyamoto, Director General, Japan Foundation, New Delhi and Dr. Jayanta Sengupta, Secretary and Curator, Victoria Memorial Hall.


Dr. Sengupta welcomed His Excellency and all other dignitaries followed by few words of appreciation of Japanese art forms while Mr. Miyamoto explained the exhibition and briefed the audience about Japanese prints and its evolution.
Mr. Taga thanked Victoria Memorial Hall for providing the venue and for all the cooperation extended in order to organize the exhibition.
Mr. Horii made an address touching upon the depth of Japan-India cultural relations and wished all the success to the exhibition.
His Excellency the Governor of West Bengal spoke highly of Indo-Japan friendship and expressed pleasure that this Japanese travelling exhibition could find a place in Victoria Memorial Hall providing a viewing opportunity to the people in and around Kolkata.

The exhibition was on display at the Portrait Gallery of Victoria Memorial Hall till 24 December 2017, recording a footfall of more than 2.5 lakh people.

This event is enlisted in the agenda of ‘2017 The Year of Japan-India Friendly Exchanges

About the Exhibition

In 1957, the Japanese government launched the International Biennial Exhibition of Prints in Tokyo as a special feature of its postwar culture policy. Awarded the International Grand Prize in the sixth edition of the biennale in 1968, Tetsuya Noda transformed photographic portraits of his family into prints. His works were significant in that they exemplified the huge changes that were underway in prints internationally, confirmed that there were parallels between trends in contemporary prints and contemporary art, and suggested future developments in contemporary art. In the 1970s, there was a rapid increase in Japanese works that adopted Noda’s method of converting photographs into prints, leading to a golden age in the medium. The era also saw the rise of works that placed special importance on allowing the materials (matter) used in printmaking (print blocks, paper, ink, etc.) to speak for themselves, which was lauded as a new trend in the medium. Another significant trend was the emergence of prints with an extremely strong materiality in which the image was transformed into a material. These autonomous expressions of photographic images and matter in the 1970s dramatically expanded the field of prints and also exerted a strong influence on trends in contemporary art. While introducing important trends in prints during the 1970s, this exhibition focuses on printinspired trends in contemporary art of the same period.
Section1: An Age of Photographic Expression
With the increase in photographs and printing, and the proliferation of the powerful medium of television, which accompanied the expansion of production and consumption in the 1960s and ’70s, Japanese society came to be overrun with images. During this period, new techniques such as silkscreening and offset printing, which made it easy to transform photographic images, quickly took hold. Under these circumstances, numerous works emerged in which photographic images were converted into prints through the use of photoengraving, leading to a new mainstream in printmaking. In many of these works, all traces of handiwork were eliminated in order to suppress emotional content and encode the image.
Exhibiting artists: Tetsuya Noda, Kosuke Kimura, Akira Matsumoto, Satoshi Saito, Hideki Kimura and Sakumi Hagiwara.

Title: Diary; Sept. 11th ‘68 |  Artist: Tetsuya Noda
Section 2: Images of Autonomous Matter
Between about 1968 and the early 1970s, a new trend emerged in art in which simple substances such as stone, wood, paper, cotton, and steel sheets were presented as works, sometimes alone and sometimes in combination with each other. As an extension of this movement, print works, which limited human involvement and manipulation of the image to a bare minimum, and set out to allow materials (matter) such as print blocks, paper, and ink to speak for themselves, received attention for expanding the concept of the print and giving rise to a new trend in the medium. This period also saw the materialization of images, a conscious movement that had begun in the 1950s, and an approach to production that centered on expressing something spiritual through matter, which resulted in works with a strong material quality.
Exhibiting artists: Jiro Takamatsu, Katsuro Yoshida, Koji Enokura, Shoichi Ida, Tatsuo Kawaguchi, Lee Ufan, Mitsuo Kano and Arinori Ichihara.

Title: Work ‘10’ |  Artist: Katsuro Yoshida