2021.8.25 [wed] – 9.9 [thu]
B-side Cat, image size 415×160mm, woodblock print, 2021
YUKIKOMIZUTANI is pleased to announce an exhibition by Mai Miyake, “B-side Cat” from August 25 to September 9. Founded on the intricate aesthetic consciousness and sensation of the Japanese people, Mai Miyake is engaged in a broad range of expressive activities that transcend existing frameworks, encompassing craftwork, contemporary art, design, and literature. The woodblock prints titled B-side Cat portrays the months of February, June, August, October, and November through the figure of a cat. Cats have played a familiar and intimate part of daily life for Japanese people since ancient times. In the late Edo period, Utagawa Kuniyoshi and many other ukiyo-e artists used cats as motifs in their paintings. In this series of artworks, which connect ukiyo-e prints of the Edo period with contemporary social customs, expressed with traditional woodblock printing techniques, we can sense the artist’ s idiosyncrasy in flawlessly bridging the past with the present. In today’ s world, where we have become impervious to the passage of seasons and lunisolar calendars, this work gives us a chance to enjoy the changing of the seasons. We hope you enjoy Mai Miyake`s latest work.
Kisaragi – February
The month when cold still lingers and more clothes are worn. Spring by the lunar calendar. May the new year begin with Setsubun. By scattering beans, the evil spirits that have amassed in a year are driven away, and new good sprout from the newly scattered seeds (beans) and bear fruit to fortune.
Minazuki – June (Minatsuki).
The month when the rice field is filled with water (also known as the month of water). Rain water is a blessing for us in Mizuho-no-Kuni (The Land of Robust Rice Plants).June is the month that decides how much rice will be harvested and whether it will be good or bad fortune. Just as we crouch before we fly, just as the earth hardens when it rains, rain is not a bad thing, but rather a necessity and a blessing.
Hazuki – August (Hatsuki),
Hazuki (Hatsuki, also known as the month of leaves). The month of leaves (Haochizuki). August is a beautiful season of verdant greenery. During the Obon Festival, our ancestors from the afterworld and we in the living world return to our hometown. We all return to our roots. Shouryo-uma (spirit horses) made out of summer vegetables are made by the living to pay tribute to their ancestors. Those souls who want to go home swiftly ride home on a lush green cucumber horse (Haya-uma). Those who want to go home slowly will ride home on eggplant cows (Gyu-ho). I wonder if anyone will ride home on a cat.
Kannazukui – October (Kaminazuki).
The month of offering new grain to the gods (Kannamezukui). During the season when gods in Japan were all gathered at Izumo (The Realm of the Gods), the Latin Americas are celebrating D a de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) where the living and dead are reunited = their own Obon Festival. In other parts of the world, children impersonate as souls of the dead, dressing up in Halloween costumes and running around the city received candy offerings on behalf of the dead souls. This all teaches us that our lives are both finite and eternal. It tells us that everything in a cycle, the good is bad and the bad is good.
Shimotsuki – November Shimotsuki.
The month of frost. The nights get longer and longer, mother earth takes a small break, and insects and animals go into hibernation. The Tea New Year’s Day is celebrated by opening the Cha-tsubo (tea jar) filled with freshly plucked tea from early May of Hachiju-Hachi-Ya (88th night after lunar new year) to June. Winter has arrived, and we are slowly savoring what we have prepared over the summer months.
Mai Miyake “B-side Cat”
Print : Woodblock Print Edition: 120 prints
Print Size: 16.0 x 41.5 cm Paper Size: 22.0 x 47.5 cm
Carver: Nagai Saeko Printer: Kubota Kenichi (Kisaragi, Kannazuki), Kawai Chiharu (Minazuki, Hazuki), Yamamoto Shun (Shimotsuki)
Publisher: Composition Ltd.
Production Year: 2021