BARCELONA - On 16 de June the exhibition Ukiyo-e, images of an ephemeral world. Eighteenth and nineteenth century Japanese prints from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, opened to the public in the Exhibition Hall of La Pedrera on 17 of June until 14 of September 2008. The press conference was attended by Gisèle Lambert and Jocelyn Bouquillard, honorary chief curator and curator respectively, of the Print and Photographic Department of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BNF).
The exhibition includes more than one hundred prints from the BNF's Département des Estampes collection by such representative authors as Harunobu, Kiyonaga, Utamaro, Hokusai or Hiroshige, and is divided into five thematic sections: theatre, female beauty, parody, eroticism and landscape.
The ukiyo-e are xylographs made in Japan between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that began to reach Europe during the first decade of 1860, as a result of the trade and cultural exchanges following more than two centuries of isolation and protectionism in Japan. These works captivated French collectors and artists, immersed in an anti-academia mood and the spirit of experimentation of the prevailing impressionism and symbolism in Europe. With this exhibition, the Fundació Caixa Catalunya aims to penetrate the world of the ukiyo-e, a reflection of the illusory and fleeting nature of everyday life's immediate pleasures in the Japan of the Edo period (1603-1868).
Theatre and sumo, female beauty, parody, eroticism, flora and fauna and the landscape are some of the subjects, a reflection of the ephemeral worldly life in contrast with the immutable and sacred world. Whether in the eighteenth century with Harunobu and Utamaro, or in the nineteenth with Hokusai or Hiroshige, the Japanese world takes on the appearance of a frail and highly exquisite spectacle.
This project is a co-production of the Fundació Caixa Catalunya and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris, which will host this exhibition from 17 November 2008 to 15 February 2009 at the Mazarine Gallery and the crypt of the Richelieu space.
A catalogue accompanying the exhibition will be published in Catalan, Spanish and French and will include reproductions of the works on display, articles by the curators, Gisèle Lambert and Jocelyn Bouquillard, and texts by Christophe Marquet and Keiko Kosugi.
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