Masami Teraoka: From Tradition to Technology, the Floating World Comes of Age Paperback – 30 Jun 1990
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I can't remember where I first ran across a reference to this book, but I remember that it was the first time I'd heard of Teraoka, and I also remember that the screenshot of the cover drew me to put it on the ever-growing list of "stuff I want to read someday" (when I say ever-growing, I do not jest; that list now encompasses 30,748 titles according to my spreadsheet, minus a few duplicates I'm sure I haven't hunted down). And by the time I got round to it, I still hadn't heard of Teraoka in any way but that now-forgotten reference to this book, which is a bear to track down if your library system dropped out of Worldcat three years ago. Nevertheless, a little perseverance works wonders, and I finally got my hands on a copy recently.
Japanese-born, American-educated Teraoka's art is fascinating for the way it integrates the two cultures, freezing a moment in time long before Japanophile culture had become an American craze (much of this work is from the sixties and seventies, when all the American cultural world was aware of from Japan was Akira Kurosawa and Yukio Mishima). Teraoka had a great deal of reservation about the Americanzation of Japan, and given the portions of American culture that tend to invade other countries, that's not a surprise (flying McDonald's hamburgers are one of his common motifs, for example). Much of the early part of the book is devoted to exploring Teraoka's vision of cross-cultural invasion. Something happened to him, however, and in the early eighties, his work became much darker and more personal. That makes the second half of this book no less compelling; some people will find it even more so. (This trend, I have discovered, has continued; in the early part of this century he did a series on global cultural changes after 9-11, for example, that is very dark.)
As long as you're not expecting all sweetness and whimsy, <em>From Tradition to Technology</em> is a lovely piece of work, an insightful essay that's filled to the brim with photographs of Teraoka's work. Even if you haven't heard of him, as I hadn't, it's well worth seeking out. ****
Teraoka, an American of Japanese descent, employs a style of watercolor painting that is directly drawn from traditional ukiyo-e woodblock printmakers, most notably the work of the nineteenth-century artists Hokusai and Kuniyoshi. Imposed on this are images of twentieth-century pop culture, resulting in a riveting, sometimes shocking, commentary on both traditional and modern Japanese culture. As the curator who authors the text states, "These are not difficult works to understand or enjoy."
The book itself is beautifully rendered. The richness of the artwork, the vibrant design and the simple text all come together to form a small gem of an artbook.
then another big suprise!! it was even signed by the artist himself!
i think this was my lucky day, cause i only payed 10,- euro (somewhere between 13 and 15 dollar!!) for this one. seeing the prices here on amazon was another big suprise!
but it's defenatly worth the money.
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