Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Natori Shunsen, Okochi Denjiro as Tange Sazen, Print, ink, colour and mica on paper

Natori Shunsen, Okochi Denjiro as Tange Sazen, Print, ink, colour and mica on paper

Stars of the Tokyo stage: Natori Shunsen’s kabuki actor prints reveals the dynamic world of Japan’s kabuki theatre through superb actor portrait prints created by artist Natori Shunsen (1886–1960) in the 1920s and 30s. A selection of spectacular kabuki robes further illustrates and gives context to the extravagance of this theatrical form.

Exclusively from the National Gallery of Australia collection, Stars of the Tokyo stage explores kabuki and modern Japanese printmaking in the context of the astounding changes taking place in Tokyo as the 20th century unfolded.

An inspiration to artists for centuries, kabuki draws on Japan’s rich folklore, literature and history, as well as violent, romantic and scandalous events, to present lavish dramatic performances. Kabuki actors – the movie stars of their day – were wildly popular for flamboyant portrayals, extraordinary characters and colourful personal lives. Shunsen’s prints provide a fascinating glimpse into this glamorous world, while demonstrating consummate mastery of traditional Japanese printmaking techniques.

This is the first time a complete set of prints by Natori Shunsen has been exhibited in Australia and Kabuki costumes are rarely seen off the stage. The exhibition contains thirty six precious prints and two stunning, rare costumes and provides a striking insight into the world of Kabuki.

‘Stars of the Tokyo stage will no doubt entice and enthral visitors to the exhibition. The drama, spectacle and excitement of kabuki will be conveyed through rare prints and costumes, none of which have been displayed outside the National Gallery of Australia, and the exhibition encapsulates the power and intensity of this world renowned art form’, said Ron Radford AM, Director, National Gallery of Australia.

Exhibition Opening – Friday 9 August 2013 at 6.30pm with guest speaker Melanie Eastburn Curator, Asian Art National Gallery of Australia plus a Japanese dance performance by Torsion, Japanese food and wine tasting courtesy Kalari Wines. Entry to opening is $15/$10 (FCRAG members)

Exhibition Floor Talk – Saturday 10 August at 1.30pm – Join Curator Melanie Eastburn for a special floor talk about this major touring exhibition. For more media information contact Brian Langer on (02) 63402192.