1928. Item #90890
[AVANT GARDE DESIGN] FURUKAWA Kôhei, artist. SHINKANKAKU MOYÔ. Uchida Bijutsu Shoshi. Shôwa 3 . 25 double leaves with a total of 44 pages of color woodblock printed designs, printed in color woodblock by the Uchida Bijutsu company, who were responsible for a number of amazing design portfolios during the 1920s and 30s. The year before this album appeared, the "Kansai Mavoist" Maki Hisao, had published his SHIN GIRISHA MOYÔ an album of Modernist design, in order to make a bit of fun of the cultural Myopia of Walter Gropius and his followers, who had mounted an exhibit in Europe titled "GREEK DESIGNS" which Maki found quite reminiscent of designs making the rounds in Japan, with deep roots in Japanese historical aesthetics.
Here, Furukawa Kôhei, another Modernist designer with connections to the avant-garde, has produced a work the title of which refers to an avant-garde literary school of the time, the SHIN KANKAKU-HA, which was attempting to introduce Modernist attitudes toward individual expression into contemporary Japanese literature. Its foremost proponents were Horiguchi Daigaku (influenced by reading Paul Morand), Kawabata Yasunari (who needs no introduction), and Yokomitsu Riichi..... In a way, the design work at hand, as explained in the introduction, is an attempt to introduce the self-expressive mandate of the avant-garde to the torrent of traditional aesthetic design elements present in Japan - integrated into a rich matrix of influence from China, from the Silk Road, from Europe, etc. Not once, but time and again historically those aesthetic elements from abroad were naturalized into the Japanese milieu. By the 20s, when this work was done, their increasing sophistication in the ways of the outside world led the artists and designers to realize that they had and were continuing to make contributions to world art, as well.
Wonderful, edgy designs. Abstract, with Deco and traditional elements- drawn from an international palette of colors and multicultural influences from all over the world. In a very clear and comprehensible fashion, the album at hand recapitulates the process of transition to "the modern" in art.
As scarce as the Uchida-printed SHINGIRISHIA MOYÔ certainly is, this work is much rarer... We can find it absolutely nowhere... We have only handled a copy one other time in 40+ years. In very good condition, in a worn but complete original card slipcase. A treasure of design and of the avant-garde.