Sunday, 28 September 2008


Last August I spent a couple of days in Barcelona and I went to visit this exhibition:

I'd like to thank Quicoto for letting me use his photograph here. My own photograph of the façace of La Pedrera (Gaudí's building where the exhibition was held) was not that good and only half of the poster appeared. Here's a link to his flickr photostream and his blog. Thank you Quicoto.

Ukiyo-e literally means "images of a floating world". I had never heard the word in my life, but those Japanese prints of the XVII and XIX century took my breath away. I had heard the name of Hokusai before, but Harunobu, Kiyonaga, Utamaro or Hiroshige sounded all new to me.

A video also showed the inmense talent and mastery of the craft required by wood carvers to achieve those delicate lines on the paper after printing.

This exhibition has been organized jointly by the Caixa Catalunya Foundation and the French National Library and it will be shown in public again in Paris from 17 November till 15 February 2009.

(This might be the first comic strip ever, apparently the cat is saying something like "I'm fed up of these people who are here disturbing my peace" or something of that sort)

Images from El Mundo newspaper

I also went to have a look at the bookshop in the ground floor and I came across a gorgeous book: "Japonisme". It's a book about the influence of Japanese art on Western art , which it turns out to be huge! (and I couldn't help it, some of the prints of the later periods kept reminding me of the Tintin strips by Hergé!)

Maybe the fact that Florizelle, the author of the ineffable Le Divan Fumoir Bohémien had once pointed me in the direction of Pattern Recognition, the wonderful livejournal where funny lady posts so many gorgeous images of Japanese prints, made me go for this exhibition instead of that of Duchamp or Nancy Spero's, which were also shown in Barcelona at the time, and also made me drool. (This could be my answer to the question that Maryam once raised in her blog "How has blogging really changed your life?")

It is curious that some time later, when I was visiting funny lady's website again I noticed the link to one of her favourite blogs: Japonisme.


  1. it's exciting hearing someone ignite over what is brand new to them!

    thanks for the mention.

    and i think the tintin books were definately strongly influenced by the style of the japanese prints. i actually have that in a post somewhere but, i'm sad to admit, i couldn't just find it!

    i've come to tags a little late....

  2. Hello!
    Thanks for your comment. I really want to go back and visit your blog again many many times and learn more about japonisme. It is fascinating. The sense of familiarity of some of those prints was astonishing. Some dated XIX century looked absolutely contemporary!

  3. i totally agree! it's like some of the oldest prints, particularly of nature, look the most modern in their pared-down-ness.


Thanks dear visitor