Death-dealing Japanese weaponry featured such gentle imagery: lotus flowers, frogs and turtles, a monkey teasing an elephant. Pictured here are nine tsuba, the hand guards on Japanese sword grips, all from the Edo period, I think.
Abe (b. 1964) is a Japanese digital artist currently based in New York. This
series of 26 digital prints, titled ‘Animism’, is his poignant response to the
earthquake and tsunami that struck north-east
Japan on 11 March 2011 – a disaster in which thousands lost their lives.
has taken images of famous Edo-period landscape and figure prints by artists
such as Hokusai, Hiroshige and Kuniyoshi and radically altered them so as to
remove almost all evidence of human culture from the view. Even Mount Fuji,
which dominates the landscape in several of the original prints, has been
Abe’s works, emblematic of the toll that the earthquake took physically and
nationally on the Japanese psyche.
moving testament is important not only in itself, but as an example of the way
Japanese artists have attempted to understand the disaster.
One of the prints is on display in Room 94
until 10 April 2016.