TOKYO FISHGRAPHS | 2020 by Naohiro Harada [SPECIAL EDITION]
記事：【インタビュー】NAOHIRO HARADA “TOKYO FISHGRAPHS|2020”（Them Magazine）
開催場所：BOOK AND SONS 3F
On a summer evening in 2022, I visited the grave of Utagawa Hiroshige, who created the famous Ukiyo-e masterpiece, “One Hundred Famous Views of Edo”. I told him I had created a work inspired by his Ukiyo-e masterpiece and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics felt like a strange dream. It was a time for people from all over the world to visit Tokyo, yet it turned out to be the complete opposite of what everyone expected: people disappeared from the city due to the pandemic. During that period, I became obsessed with searching for charming fishes early in the morning at the fish market. I took photos of them at the places depicted in the “One Hundred Famous Views of Edo”. It satisfied my creative urge under the constraints of not being able to meet anyone at that time.
In Japanese art, there is a technique called Mitate-e ― a type of ukiyo-e that witfully plays with allusions, puns, and gaps in what we understand to express historical and traditional events in a modern and often funny way. There was also a time in Hiroshige’s career when he concentrated on depicting fishes. The work is called “Grand Series of Fishes.”
My work “Tokyo Fishgraphs” is a series of contemporary Mitate-e, in which Hiroshige’s portrayal of fishes livened up the no-spectators Tokyo Olympics from “One Hundred Famous Views of Tokyo”. Looking back, the process was like performing a ritual in a strange dream that allowed me to immerse myself in creating during the pandemic. Sometimes a specific place and time in history create a strange puzzle. Perhaps this work is such a puzzle born out of Tokyo.