Narwhal is pleased to present the second Canadian exhibition of the artwork of Japanese artist Toshio Saeki. The works presented in this exhibition are comprised of original ink drawings from 1972 to the present, including three new original drawings exclusively for this exhibition. As part os the exhibition Saeki has recreated one of his most famous scenes and recoloured it to create Ureshidaruma, an edition of 100 silkscreen prints available only through Narwhal.
Celebrated as the “Godfather of Japanese Eroticism”, Saeki’s artwork draws from the basement of a collective subconscious, depicting universal taboos through surreal narratives and dark humour. Filtering imagery from his photographic memory and childhood experiences through imagination and dreams, Saeki splits open a universally erotic world where iconic characters subject themselves to grotesque behaviours staged within traditional Japanese environments.
Accessing the traditional Japanese partnership employed by the Ukioy-e woodcut masters, Saeki creates his original works as black and white ink drawings which he then overlays with vellum sheets hand marked with colour plans for the visualized finished image. As an “eshi” (artist) he passes his designs to a “surishi” (printer) and they are developed into the final work. Saeki refers to his method of practice as Chinto printing. Through harmonizing provocative contemporary imagery with traditional Japanese culture, Saeki’s work transcends time, weaving fantastically grotesque and abstract narratives that are at once are at once startlingly indecorous yet remarkably alluring.
ABOUT TOSHIO SAEKI
Born in 1945 in Miyazaki, Japan, Saeki gained notoriety in the 1970’s for his avant garde approach, connecting traditional Japanese art styles such as Shunga (erotica) and Yokaiga (mythology) with postmodern radical pop art culture. Over the past 40 years Saeki has developed a dedicated cult following, which continues to expand significantly. Saeki has had solo exhibitions in Japan, Paris, London, Tel Aviv, New York and San Francisco. Over a dozen publications of his collected works have been printed including Saeki Toshio Gashu, Akai-hako (Red Box), Chimushi I, and Chimushi II, Yume Manji (Dream Swastika) and Onikage. Celebrated cross culturally, Saeki has also been immortalized in the Ju-on horror films which play homage to his child spirit and has contributed album artwork for several international musicians including John Lennon and Yoko Ono. He presently lives and works in the small town of Ichihara, Chiba, Japan.
Press: “Beauty Without Poison is Boring” The Elephant Magazine, Jan 2016
Press: “The Erotic Horror Art of Toshio Saeki” Dangerous Minds, Aug 2015
Press: “Interview with Toshio Saeki” Juxtapoz Magazine, March 2014
Press: “Artists to Watch 2013” Huffington Post, 2013
Press: “Toshio Saeki Interview” Dazed and Confused, 2013