Battle for power. Prints by TAKEDA HIDEO

From 10 September to 27 November Japan Museum SieboldHuis will present a stirring exhibition that takes a contemporary look at a traditional Japanese theme.  Prints by present-day artist Hideo Takeda tell the classic tale of Genpei – the battle for power between the Taira and Minamoto families in the 12th century.

Known for his ‘bizarre images’ Takeda’s work is often interspersed with fanciful erotica.  The artist sees himself as a cartoonist with a flexible style to better convey the message.  In order to reach a greater public, Takeda utilises the silkscreen technique to print his drawings.  This method is bears a striking resemblance to Japanese woodblock prints (ukiyo-e).

The illustrations in ‘Battle for Power’ tell the story of ‘Genpei’. The ‘Genpei’ war (1180-1185) was a conflict that took place at the end of the Heian period between the Taira and Minamoto families. Since then this war has been a source of inspiration to the Japanese world of art and literature. Takeda was also inspired by this conflict and produced a series of prints that are on display in this exhibition.

The prints are reminiscent of the heroic woodblock prints of Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861) but with a satirical undertone. Through his use of eroticism and graphic style Takeda works take contemporary look at an ancient battle.  A good example is his most famous print ’Mark of the Fan’. Here we see a naked woman in the mast while Tamamoto – on horseback –  wades though a sea of female figures.  Takeda’s Genpei prints are renowned for their attention to detail and rousing imagery in the battle for power.

Running parallel to ‘Battle for Power. Prints by Hideo Takeda’ are the realistic still lifes by Debora Makkus and the elaborately decorated traditional Edo period porcelain displayed in: ‘Arita. Paintings by Debora Makkus’.

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