Shinkankaku Moyō 新感覚模様
1928. Item #90891
[AVANT GARDE DESIGN] FURUKAWA Kôhei, artist. Shinkankaku Moyō 新感覚模様.25 x 18cm orihon folding album housed in a case 26 x 18.5cm. 25 double leaves with a total of 44 pages of color woodblock printed designs, printed by the famous Uchida company, Uchida Bijutsu Shoshi 内田美術書肆, 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 牧寿雄, had published his “Shin Girisha-Ha Moyō” 新希臘派模様, 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 Kōhei 古川甲丙, 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 “Shinkankaku-Ha” 新感覚派, which was attempting to introduce Modernist attitudes toward individual expression into contemporary Japanese literature. Its foremost proponents were Horiguchi Daigaku 堀口大學 (influenced by reading Paul Morand), novelist Kawabata Yasunari 川端康成 (who needs no introduction) and Yokomitsu Riichi 横光利一. 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 and traditional - 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 “Shin Girisha Ha Moyō” 新希臘派模様 certainly is, this work is much rarer. We can find it absolutely nowhere. In very good condition, a treasure of design and of the avant-garde.