Yuji Hiratsuka’s solo exhibition Life in the Gendai Era (that is, in the current time) takes the viewer on a journey into the highly original creative world of an artist who belongs to the Western and Eastern cultural realms simultaneously. In a witty and whimsical way, the artist reinvents the traditional ukiyo-e — pictures of the floating world — transplanting the classical Japanese narratives into the contemporary big city life and juxtaposing them against the universal images of the cosmopolitan Western culture.
Yuji Hiratsuka’s preferred medium, printmaking, is one of the lauded achievements of the traditional Japanese art, praised for its immaculate sophistication and refinement. In Hiratsuka’s artworks, intaglio printing is fused with the chine-collé technique which requires a specific type of superfine paper, resulting in particularly delicate prints. The artist declares his preference for traditional printmaking over cutting-edge computer-based technology: “Working with the materials, preparing the plate and printing is what really fascinates me. I am very fond of the very process of calm manual work, of the mystical nature of printmaking”.