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Artists in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction -From Picasso to Warhol




At Yokohama Museum of Art



Drawing on works from both the Fuji Xerox Print Collection and the Yokohama Museum of Art, this exhibition explores the artistic visions that preoccupied leading artists during the 20th Century ― an age when the development and spread of mechanical reproduction techniques such as photographic printing and film made it possible for anyone to enjoy art in reproduction.


German philosopher Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) pointed out that the development and spread of "mechanical reproduction" after the invention of photography led to a crisis in the traditional arts, such as painting and theater, as it significantly altered people's feelings about, ways of appreciating and expectations for art.
In fact, there were many movements in the 20th Century that threatened to sweep away the traditional image of art. The century began with new approaches to space and color, such as in Cubism and Fauvism. After the First World War, Dada (anti-art) sought to upend traditional conceptions of beauty, Bauhaus and Russian Constructivism tried to achieve an ideal society through the establishment of abstract styles, and Surrealism sought to liberate human beings through explorations of the unconscious. After the Second World War, Pop Art appeared, reflecting a society of mass consumption, and, in the 1960s, Xerography (electrophotography or reprography) was introduced into artistic creation. By reconsidering 20th Century art from the perspective of mechanical reproduction, this exhibition aims to reinterpret the exploits of artists as responses to the "crisis" identified by Benjamin.


This exhibition, featuring the collections of both Fuji Xerox Co., Ltd. and the Yokohama Museum of Art, consists of some 400 works by major artists, combining works made using mechanical reproduction techniques, such as prints, photography and books, with works in traditional media, such as oil painting and sculpture. It throws into relief the various responses of artists who lived through the age that presaged our current age of digital reproduction.


Fuji Xerox Print Collection

Since 1988, Fuji Xerox Co., Ltd. has collected "prints or artworks produced in multiple pieces by a print-like technique that are representative of the spirit or culture of the age in which they were made". The collection now numbers roughly 950 pieces, including prints, photographs, copy art (artworks using Xerography) and artist books by important artists from the West and Japan. It is exhibited in selection periodically at the Fuji Xerox Art Space at the company's research building that was opened in Yokohama's Minato Mirai 21 district in 2010.


Yokoham Museum of Art

Since 1982, before it opened to the public, the Yokohama Museum of Art has collected Western and Japanese modern and contemporary art made since the time of the opening of the port of Yokohama. In terms of Western art, it possesses paintings, sculptures and prints representative of Surrealism and also Dada and Constructivism. It also possesses a daguerreotype, Nadar’s portraits, Eugène Atget’s landscape photographs and other works that trace the history of photography.


(quoted from "Official Website")

ARAKAWA + GINS Tokyo Office