Toshio Saeki’s silkscreen and ink works are an effortless amalgamation of flamboyant surrealism and dark satire: his depictions of wanton violence and sexual deviance are aimed at initiating dialogue about the hypocritical, repressive nature of social protocol.
Saeki first shocked the Japanese art world in 1970 with a provocative publication of drawings done in his trademark graphic style. Influenced by a broad range of shunga (erotic art executed in woodblock prints made during the Edo period in Japan) and Western comics, Saeki’s work violates the restrictive proprieties of the socially conditioned body and brazenly makes visible the taboos that are often kept out of the public sphere.
Saeki’s technique is a slight modification of the ukiyo-e art tradition depicting the “floating world” of the theatre, natural landscapes and pleasure quarters in Japan between the 17th and 20th centuries. As he challenges the fear, outrage and shame that are constantly associated with sexual desire, Saeki draws attention to the notion of the human physique as being a site where regimes of power and discourse may be inscribed.
Toshio Saeki’s work is presented by NO WAY and Ghostown, and will be showing at the Print House Gallery in London from 29 March to 1 May.
The Print House Gallery
18 Ashwin Street
London E8 3DL
All images courtesy of the artist.