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THE SENSUAL LINE – JAPANESE WOODCUTS, KLIMT, SCHMALIX, ARAKI, TAKANO

As with the Greeks, physical love represented the highest intensity of existence for the ancient Japanese. Almost all the large woodcut masters created erotic images, among them extraordinarily valuable prints made from gold, silver and mother-of-pearl. The works were usually made in very small editions and under pseudonyms, or were not signed by the artists at all. One of the basic conditions in woodcuts is relentless perfection of lines; the parallel perspective dominated, and light and shadow were not depicted. These books and rolls not infrequently were part of a bride’s dowry in order to introduce her to the practices of a love life. In this way, the pressed and/or painted Shungas became family heirlooms and served as “sexual education” for distinguished families. With “the sensual line”, the Museum der Moderne Salzburg would like to explore erotic perspectives in the work of Gustav Klimt, Hubert Schmalix and Nobuyoshi Araki, and their parallel and evident references to Japanese Shungas.

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Represented artists: Gustav Klimt

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