Toshidama Gallery is featured in the highly regarded Acne Paper magazine, issue 15, which is published this month. Gallery director Alex Faulkner is interviewed by film maker and writer Lisa Rovner about the role of onnagata in kabuki theatre and in Japanese woodblock prints.
Eric Wilson, of The New York Times writes “Acne Paper, has become a cult hit, like Andy Warhol’s Interview in the early days, for its insider perspective on the most obscure corners of fashion and its wealth of big-name contributors.” Susannah Frankel of The Independent newspaper writes “There is an organic and authentic quality to Acne Paper, a sense of it extending above and beyond an obviously commercially viable concern, which is genuinely inspiring.”
The full page interview looks at the cultural fit of the onnagata in traditional Japanese culture and how these transgender identities chime with contemporary issues of gender and femininity. There’s a lot else to read and look at in this lavish, oversized, glossy compendium of modern culture and well worth the £8.00 cover price.
Illustrated left, is the fabulous Yoshitora print of the actor Bando Mitsugoro V in the onnagata role of Shindo Saemon’s daughter, Yushide. The piece, featured in our forthcoming Winter exhibition is in staggeringly good condition, as vibrant and fresh as if it were just printed. The series, writes author John Fiorillo “was originally scheduled to include 150 works by the leading designer of actor prints, Utagawa Kunisada unfortunately, it was never completed. Only 72 published designs are known, with 12 by Yoshitora, plus two proof prints and two preparatory drawings, for a total of 76 known compositions. Yoshitora joined the project in 1862 for unconfirmed reasons (possibly to assist an overworked or ailing Kunisada). The series was intended to be the crowning achievement in Kunisada’s career, with no effort or expense spared in its size or production… In terms of their quality (beautifully executed block cutting, exceptional colors, embossing, and burnishing), the prints from this series are reminiscent of the deluxe limited editions produced in the smaller chuban format in Osaka during the mid-nineteenth century (most familiar among them are the prints of Hirosada).”
Japanese Woodblock Prints, Winter 2013 opens at the Toshidama Gallery on 15th of November 2013.