The ancient tradition of ukiyo-e, like the work of Moira Hahn, is both sacred and profane, and like Hahn's work, depends on an almost excruciatingly high level of detailed craftsmanship for its intrigue.
Ukiyo-e, or "images of the floating world, is regarded by many as the crown jewel in the ancient art of Japanese woodblock printing. Depicting nearly every aspect of Tokyo's vibrant Edo-period culture, including theater bills, geishas, tea houses, landscapes, poetry and philosophy, many of the prints were in fact street posters as well as fine art, spiritual instruction, books, and had ceremonial functions. They were made by some of the most famous icons of the genre, luminaries including Hokusai, Utamaro and Hiroshige. The dynamic was very much analagous to the legendary relationship between Paris' Moulin Rouge and Henri de Toulouse- Lautrec.
For Hahn, this heady mixture of high and low, public and private, message and medium blends into other dualities, like that btween the ancient and the modern, the personal and the historical. The strategy of appropriating the style... read more