Friday at PNCA the Adachi Institute
of Woodcut Print in association with the Japan Foundation gave a crowd of spectators a startling insight into the process of a master.
The Adachi Institute continues the Ukiyo-e hand made print tradition. The mass production and circulation of woodblock prints underlay the blossoming of Japanese popular culture that occurred during the Edo era (1600 - 1867).
The Adachi Institute makes exact replicas of famous prints from the Edo era. Friday's lunchtime demonstration was a step by step walk- through of the printing process of one of Hokusai's most famous prints: The Great Wave.
The Great Wave has become emblematic of Japanese culture as a whole, and the Adachi reproduction was absolutely immaculate. Those in attendance saw how each block color changed the composition, and got to see the elaborate eight stage printing process in its entirety.
Prints were passed around in the audience and gave the strange impression that people were casually handling priceless works of art while holding a sandwich in the other hand.
After the demonstration everyone was encouraged to handle and inspect the woodblocks and the print series. The event provided what seemed like an impossible insight, the equivalent of looking over Da Vinci's shoulder as he works.
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