“Living only for the moment,
savouring the moon,
the cherry blossoms,
and the maple leaves,
and diverting oneself just in floating,
unconcerned by the prospect of imminent poverty,
buoyant and carefree,
like a gourd carried along the river current:
this is what we call Ukiyo-e.”
from: Tales of the floating world (Asia Ryōi, 1661)
As a artistic movement Ukiyo-e, “pictures of the floating world”, idealized the contemporary urban life in the various amusement areas of the larger cities in Japan between the 17th and the 19th century. Hedonism reigning the bars and brothels in these quarters, which were enjoyed by all social groups. This was a welcome escape from the fixed social hierarchy.
Shunga is a Japanese term for erotic woodblock prints. The word means “picture of spring”, a euphemism for sex. It was one of the leading subjects of the Ukiyo-e art genre together with female beauties, kabuki actors, sumo wrestles, landscapes, travel scenes, flora and fauna.
(from up to down, from left to right)
– Studio shadow play, digital photo collage, 2016
– Twelve bouts on the way of sexuality, woodblock, Koryūsai, 1777
– UNTITLED, watercolour on paper, 2016