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 Hokusai Exposed
Hokusai Exposed: Master Works Exhibited Using Japanese Digital Technology - ArtLyst Article image

Hokusai Exposed: Master Works Exhibited Using Japanese Digital Technology

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Visitors to Hokusai Exposed will be immersed in the works of the great Japanese Master, Katsushika Hokusai, “re-created” using state-of the-art digital technology, as well as the vibrant 3D streets and pleasure districts of Edo, 18th century Tokyo. The world of ukiyo-e style woodblock prints will be brought to life in a unique event which engages all the senses and is the first showcase of the “re-create” concept outside of Japan.

A highlight will be re-creations of Hokusai’s famed 36 Views of Mount Fuji, a fitting tribute to Mount Fuji’s June 2013 inscription onto the UNESCO World Heritage list as both a sacred place and a source of artistic inspiration. In a restricted 18-plus area, traditional Japanese paper lanterns, chōchin, will guide visitors through the night time pleasure districts of Edo’s  backstreets to illuminate 48 prints of Hokusai’s sensual and erotic work, in a style known as shunga. A detailed narrative alongside these works will lead to the main display of the notorious Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife, which can be viewed through 3D glasses.

“Re-create” is a concept and innovative technology developed in Japan by award-winning scientist and author Dr. Shin-Ichi Fukuoka. Using cutting-edge digital mastering and UV printing technology, “re-create” seeks to replicate the colour and details of works of art when they were first painted or printed, allowing the user to get a sense of the impact of the original work and the intent of the artist. Since these “re-creations” are not “original” works of art, they do not require strict protection from light and damage, making it possible for visitors to really get up close and personal with Hokusai.

Hokusai is master of the woodblock printing style known as ukiyo-e (floating world pictures), which depicted the everyday life and popular entertainment of the time.The original ukiyo-e were produced by intricately carving blocks of wood in relief, according to a master drawing, then pressing paper to the inked blocks to print the design. The enlarged prints at this exhibition have been specially prepared through the “re-create” process, allowing the timeless impact of Hokusai’s compositions and the incredible intricacy of the prints carved by Edo woodblock craftsmen to be seen in unsurpassed detail for the first time outside of Japan. Hokusai Exposed will also feature the latest projection mapping technology, mixing high impact graphics to create a multi-media experience.

Best known for his iconic Great Wave off Kanagawa, Hokusai’s work numbers more than 30,000 original prints, including landscapes, the natural world, manga, and shunga. His body of works forms an exciting and vivid social record of the Edo period (1603 to 1868), one of the most colourful times in Japanese history. Hokusai’s work is also the acknowledged inspiration for today’s influential Japanese pop culture movements such as manga and anime.

Hokusai was selected by Life magazine as one of the most important 100 people in the past 1000 years, and he has had far reaching influence. A host of artists, including Manet, Degas, Renoir, Monet, van Gogh, Lautrec, and Gauguin bear his thumbprint, while composers including Debussy, Stravinsky and Satie also translated the inspiration stirred by the art of Hokusai into their music. His mark can also be felt in influential Japanese pop culture movement today, such as manga and anime.

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