Print Matters: Visuality, Materiality, and the Afterlife of the Image in Japanese Art

Julie Nelson Davis (University of Pennsylvania)
Ewa Machotka (Stockholm University)
Erin Schoneveld (Haverford College)
Visual Arts
Torre B, Piso 5, Auditório 3
Start time:
31 August, 2017 at 11:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

This roundtable panel presents three case studies where print, as a material form, expands its message through reproduction and the material representation of "art" in its moment. Using the lens of materiality we further demonstrate how print also engaged "afterlives" for its subjects.

Long abstract:

This panel will take the form of a roundtable interrogating how the medium of print, as a material form, expands its message through the act of reproduction. Each of the presenters will offer a short analysis of a specific work, using it as a methodological frame for questions about the relationship between print, materiality, visuality, and response. With each of our case studies, we begin by considering how the printed image adapts its source materials (poetry, sketch, and painting) to engage a larger dialogue on the material representation of "art" in its moment and within the form of the printed matter itself. We consider how three different forms of printed production--the illustrated book, the sheet print as a set, and the magazine--also uses seriality to expands the experience of the viewer. The presentations will end with an open-ended question about materiality and medium, setting out potential topics for what is, we hope, a free-wheeling conversation with the audience about print matters. Our three papers span the artificial divide of the modern and premodern through the lens of materiality and demonstrate how print opened up the potential for the "afterlives" of their subjects. In first case study the theme of the Six Jewel Rivers (Mu Tamagawa) shows how the poetic trope was transformed into the 'landscape', giving that classical theme a new life, resonant with economic, social, and ecological associations in a time of natural disaster. In the second presentation, an illustrated book is reconsidered in terms of its mobility, through its production to its afterlife in nineteenth-century Paris. Turning to the coterie magazine as the final case study, issues of the expanded reach of mechanical printing and photography made European modernism of earlier decades visible to a wider public in Taishô Japan. As material objects, these printed forms presented viewers with a range of new experiences that went beyond the visual stimulating new modes of circulation and contact. All three media provided a cultural space in which artists constructed social and aesthetic networks of exchange and display.