edo period art


Koya 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.

Abe 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 eradicated in Abe’s works, emblematic of the toll that the earthquake took physically and nationally on the Japanese psyche.

Abe’s 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.

© Koya Abe.