2003 Apr 4 - Apr 26

Gallery Naruyama is pleased to announce Makura-e, an exhibition by writer and cellist Yamaguchi Tsubaki opening on April 4th (Fri).

Makura-e 2003 Sumi on Silk 

During the renovation for the World Heritage Site Hououdou within the Byoudouin Temple, erotic images were discovered dipicted in the inner structures of the ancient buildings. They were even discovered inside the pedestal on which the Buddha rests in Toshodaiji Temple.
Our ancestors believed in sex as the origin of all natural powers, and subliminated it into a belief of faith.
Sex was religious, it was pure.
Under such faith, erotic art functioned as a prayer and exorcism. It was believed to have powers of purification.
The over-sized, surreal sexual organs do not conjure sexual desires.Its style contrasts to Greek sculptures, which depict the male genitals half the size.
Ghosts were also under similar faith. Many people had them depicted on the inner side of their kimonos, as a warning to evil spirits that may approach them.

In 1998, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York exhibited erotic works by Kitagawa Utamaro, and did not restric its audience towards minors.
Likewise, in 2001, the National Museum in Kyoto exhibited erotic works to the public without age limits. The chief curator boldly commented, that culture differs from what we consider obscene.

What I exhibit here are all personal interpretations of works from the past.

- Yamaguchi Tsubaki

from Makura-e 2003

We will also be exhibiting under the theme of "Ghosts" at the International Contemporary Art Festival in Tokyo.

Prior to the Showa Era, as stated by Yamaguchi, ghosts were not evil; in contrast they were exorcists, and its image functioned as a form of purificaiton. It was lucky to have a ghost in the house, and the dandies of the time had pictures of ghosts commissioned on the inside of their kimonos. At the time, a certain aesthetic towards what we now consider gruesome played a part in the culture of Japan.

On display will be ghosts dipicted by Yamaguchi Tsubaki on kimonos, naturally dyed by Habuchi Masahiro.
Spirit photographs from the collection of Sir Conan Doyle and works by Swiss artist Dimitri Horta will accompany the beautiful array of works.