On January 20th, Nanzuka Gallery in Tokyo opened their first exhibition with the master of the dark and salacious arts, Toshio Saeki, presenting a comprehensive selection of original works in his largest solo show to date. Mixing elements of eroticism, humor, and horror, the artist has been successfully introducing Japan’s underground illustration scene to an international audience since 1970s.
From his debut on the pages of Heibon Punch Magazine to exhibitions in countries across the globe, including the UK, France, Israel, the US, Canada, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, Toshio Saeki continues to receive increasing international acclaim. For this showing, titled Unnen, the gallery included a wide selection of original illustrations produced between the 1970s and 1980s as well as challenged the artist to create large-scale murals in color inside the gallery.
Considered as contemporary Shunga (erotic art), or Yokaiga (ghost and monster art), the work cleverly mixes eroticism and provocative elements along with black humor, aiming to unveil various sexual taboos within conservative Japanese social society. The tension in his work is often accented by juxtaposing the controversial and often chaotic imagery against the strict grid lines or traditional drawing format. These elements are also indicating artist's tendency to simplicity and calculation when creating work, an approach more obvious in large site specific murals created especially for this occasion. —Sasha Bogojev
The show will be on view in Tokyo through February 24, 2018