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Poster, The 200th anniversary of Sharaku, 1995
Ikko Tanaka
Poster, The 200th anniversary of Sharaku
Ikko Tanaka,

Poster, The 200th anniversary of Sharaku,
1995

Ikko Tanaka
*4003
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Museum für Gestaltung Zürich
Ausstellungsstrasse 60
8031 Zurich
Museum map
Museum für Gestaltung Zürich
Toni-Areal, Pfingstweidstrasse 94
8031 Zurich
  • The 200th anniversary of Sharaku Ikko Tanaka Poster
  • The 200th anniversary of Sharaku Ikko Tanaka Poster
  • The 200th anniversary of Sharaku Ikko Tanaka Poster
  • The 200th anniversary of Sharaku Ikko Tanaka Poster
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Listen to the text
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Ikko Tanaka’s (1930–2002) poster is a classic of Japanese graphic design. His international success was the result of a remarkable talent for combining progressive Western styles with traditional Japanese aesthetics. The poster honoring the mysterious woodblock artist Tōshūsai Sharaku (ca. 1780–1825) is an illustration of this ability.

After studying art and working in Kyoto and Osaka as a textile and graphic designer, in 1957 the twenty-seven-year-old Ikko Tanaka moved to Tokyo, where he was introduced to Bauhaus-style modernism. While other graphic artists of his generation firmly rejected Western influences, Tanaka consciously integrated them into his work. But he did not renounce his own roots. His impressive Sharaku head comprised of nine circles translates the expressive portraits of Kabuki actors realized by the great woodblock artist into a modern, reduced visual language of purely geometrical elements. Only the eyes and the facial contours are drawn with a fine line. Tanaka thus paid homage to the line-and-surface artistry of the Japanese woodblock prints that had been so influential on the French avant-garde circa 1900. At the same time, he was honoring the illustrious Kabuki theater and above all Tōshūsai Sharaku. Though little is known even today of Sharaku’s life and identity, he is nonetheless celebrated as one of the first modern artists in Japan. By rendering his tribute to Sharaku in a likewise progressive visual language, Tanaka commemorates his position in Japanese art history. As early as 1981 Tanaka had, in a poster for a production of Japanese dance, designed an abstract portrait based on a repertory of geometric forms that associates the mask and individuality in striking fashion.  (Bettina Richter)

Plakat, The 200th anniversary of Sharaku, 1995
Erscheinungsland: Japan
Gestaltung: Ikko Tanaka
Auftrag: The Mainichi Newspapers, Tokio, JP
Material/Technik: Offset
103 x 73 cm
Donation: DNP Foundation für Cultural Promotion, Tokio, JP und Kabushiki Kaisha Tanaka Ikko Design Shitsu, Tokio, JP
Eigentum: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK
Literatureo

Richard S. Thorton, The Graphic Spirit of Japan, New York 1991.

Phaidon (Hg.), The Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design, Berlin 2012, ID H041.

Image creditso

Plakat, The 200th anniversary of Sharaku, 1995, Japan, Gestaltung: Ikko Tanaka, Donation: DNP Foundation für Cultural Promotion, Tokio, JP und Kabushiki Kaisha Tanaka Ikko Design Shitsu, Tokio, JP
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Plakat, Nihon Buyo – UCLA – Asian performing arts Institute, 1981, Japan, Gestaltung: Ikko Tanaka, Donation: DNP Foundation für Cultural Promotion, Tokio, JP und Kabushiki Kaisha Tanaka Ikko Design Shitsu, Tokio, JP
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Plakat, (Die fünfte Sankei Kanze Noh Aufführung), 1958, Japan, Gestaltung: Ikko Tanaka, Donation: DNP Foundation für Cultural Promotion, Tokio, JP und Kabushiki Kaisha Tanaka Ikko Design Shitsu, Tokio, JP
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Plakat, (Die 20ste Sankei Kanze Noh Gedenkaufführung), 1973, Japan, Gestaltung: Ikko Tanaka, Donation: DNP Foundation für Cultural Promotion, Tokio, JP und Kabushiki Kaisha Tanaka Ikko Design Shitsu, Tokio, JP
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Plakat, (Das 6. Nationale Kulturfestival, Chiba '91), 1991, Japan, Gestaltung: Ikko Tanaka, Donation: DNP Foundation für Cultural Promotion, Tokio, JP und Kabushiki Kaisha Tanaka Ikko Design Shitsu, Tokio, JP
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK