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“Woodcut Effect” Contemporary Japanese and Lithuanian Woodblock Prints

2017 September 20 @ 18:00 - 2017 November 18 @ 12:00

Contemporary Japanese and Lithuanian Woodblock Prints
The intrigue offered by joined exhibition “Woodcut effect: Contemporary Japanese and Lithuanian Woodblock Prints” is a possibility to compare the works by contemporary woodcut artists coming from two outstanding traditions and to reveal the range of technical capabilities and variations of old graphic techniques today. This opportunity to get acquainted with contemporary Japanese woodcuts was granted by the main partner of the project, the Kyoto International Woodprint Association (KIWA). For the first time, the works created using the technique of modern Japanese woodcutting (mokuhanga) are shown in Lithuania. Mokuhanga is an unique wood carving technique developed in Japan using water-based paints and printing on special hand-made paper (washi) without any press. Japanese art is famous for the heights reached by its craftsmen (ukiyo-e), but the modern Japanese woodcut (mokuhanga) is not simply a continuation of medieval traditions. Unlike closed, isolated ukiyo-e methods, new wave courageously adapts novel complex mixed techniques, it is diverse and more abstract, yet in a certain way still follows structures, symbols and implications of old traditions. Sixteen Japanese artists of different generations are presented in the exhibitions, showing up to fifty individual works, which vary in thematic and artistic style. Unlike closed and isolated ukiyo-e technique, modern woodcut (mokuhanga) bravely adapts new complex mixed techniques, this technique is more abstracted or conceptual.
Lithuanian postmodern visual expression and best old Lithuanian graphic traditions are interpreted by contemporary local woodcut artists. Although woodcutting traditions in Lithuania extends back to the 16th century, the technique, due to its complexity, remains not particularly popular among artists. Thirteen of the most prominent Lithuanian woodcut artists were selected to take part in the exhibition, showing over 30 latest works from the last decade. Whole selection for this exhibition illustrates how important it is for artists to search for new forms of expression as the printing process becomes more and more complex. As a result, often a number of classical techniques are combined and several digital technologies are used. There is a wide arsenal of creative tools that combines classical and new techniques, mapping out a wide range of artistic themes.
The colourful and diverse panorama of contemporary Japanese and Lithuanian woodcuts reflects the great freedom of creativity. This variety in the plasticity within the works at the exhibition reveals wide range of creative techniques for complex woodcutting, advanced understanding of aesthetics and demonstrates the context of different cultures, local possibilities, and not the least, introduces the oldest masters of Japan’s contemporary masonry of tradition of woodcutting and contemporary Lithuanian woodcuts and artists who create them. This exhibition presents woodcutting as a contemporary and interesting graphic technique. Its trilingual catalogue helps to include the visual idea of the project into wider international artistic context. 
from JAPAN: Chiaki, Konomi Honda, Natsuko Katahira, Harue Katsuyama, Masanori Katsuyama, Chie Kawabata, Akira Kurosaki, Eimei Machida, Keiko Mikami, Shinsuke Minegishi, Yasuko Onishi, Kyoko Sakamoto, Kayako Shimizu, Richard Steiner, Kanako Watanabe, Nobuko Yamasaki.
From LITHUANIA: Jonas Čepas, Inga Dargužytė, Daiva Gudelytė, Evaldas Mikalauskis, Kristina Norvilaitė, Vladas Lisaitis, Laura Selmistraitytė, Jolanta Sereikaitė, Laisvydė Šalčiūtė, Vytenis Tolutis, Roberta Vaigeltaitė-Vasiliūnienė, Kęstutis Vasiliūnas, Neringa Žukauskaitė
Exhibition curators: Kyoto International Woodprint Association President, KIWA Founder, Kyoto International Mokuhanga School Richard Keith Steiner (Tosai) and Regina Urbonienė
Idea author and manager – Eglė Bertašienė
Organizers – VšĮ “Meno dalis“, Kyoto International Woodprint Association
Nominal support –  Embassy of Japan in Lithuania
Main sponsors – project is funded by the Lithuanian Cultural Council and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania
Sponsors – BMK leidykla, BMK kopijavimo centras, UAB “Dekbera“, UAB “Upartas“, Mrs. Kristina Mekšrūnienė.