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Academic Razvan Theodorescu, about exhibition of prints from MNLR: Interest in Japan, part of Romanian modernity

F. P.
Răzvan Theodorescu

The exhibition of Japanese prints "Celebrities in the Floating World", opened on Friday, at the National Museum of Romanian Literature, proves once again that the interest in Japan was a part of our modernity, said Academician Razvan Theodorescu, Vice-President of the Romanian Academy.

"There is this phenomenon which proves that the interest in Japan was a part of our modernity. There are large collections, such as that of Dr. Cantacuzino, my professor George Oprescu, General Bagulescu [Gheorghe Bagulescu, writer and art collector, military attaché of the Kingdom of Romania in the Japanese Empire -1935-1939 and ambassador of Romania to Japan, Manchuko and China - 1941-1945 - ed. note] who created an extremely important nucleus of Japanese art. Now, here, at the Museum of Literature, we are opening an exhibition of this kind," said Theodorescu, President of the Arts, Architecture, and Audio-Visual Section of the Academy.

Razvan Theodorescu recalled that "for modern art, the Japanese print was a remarkable impulse, starting with the Impressionists and going as far as the symbolists".

"Being connected to the world of Japanese printing means being connected to a form of modernity that is very important in the history of culture. The prints of the Edo period on display at the Museum of Literature are emblematic of this age of art," said the academician.

The director of the National Museum of Romanian Literature, Ioan Cristescu, appreciated that "Celebrities in the Floating World" is an exhibition event of the Capital, because "it addresses the great themes of the Japanese print, from historical personalities to nature and Kabuki theater.

"I think the exhibition will be a surprise for everyone who visits it, revealing the art and craftsmanship of the Japanese culture," Cristescu said.

He announced that, while the exhibition is open, until April 10, the MNLR team will organize a series of events in the exhibition space.

"We are trying to conduct not only guided tours, but also to organize every week a workshop on Japanese culture in general," Ioan Cristescu said.

The event was attended by the Japanese Ambassador to Romania, Hiroshi Ueda, who voiced his satisfaction that the exhibition, the first event in which he participates in Romania, two months after arriving in our country, is "varied and extensive".

It gives me great and special pleasure to see that Japanese art has so many supporters and so many interested people in Romania and collectors like George Serban. I have just seen this exhibition and I am very happy to find that it is so varied and extensive, because it presents works by so many Japanese artists and masters of the Edo period, from Hishikawa Moronobu, Okumura Masanobu, Suzuki Harunobu, to Hokusai, Eizan and Kunisada, and with that I didn't even name them all, said the Japanese diplomat.

Hiroshi Ueda said that visitors to the exhibition will discover "very picturesque landscapes, various scenes of everyday life, as well as impressive portraits of Kabuki theater actors", all these representing "a fascinating atmosphere" of seventeenth-century Japan until the 19th century, also called the Edo period, the Romanian public being able to see "what life was like in a flourishing period in the history of Japan".

On this occasion, the catalog of the exhibition was launched, made by George Serban and Dr. Alexandru Constantin Chituta, the curator of the exhibition.

The prints exhibited in the three rooms on the ground floor of the museum's headquarters in Calea Grivitei 64-66 are part of George Serban's private Ukiyo-e collection.

A record for Romania, through the number of works exhibited, 200 Japanese prints created by the most important ukiyo-e artists, in the period 1603-1868, known as the Edo period, the exhibition presents works that cover this art's major themes: history, kabuki theater, bijin-ga or portraits of beautiful women - geishas or courtesans.

The exhibition will also feature original works by Hishikawa Moronobu (1618-1694), Okumura Masanobu (1686-1764), Suzuki Harunobu (1724-1770), Isoda Koryusai (1735-1790), artists from the Torii, Katsukawa Schools or Utagawa, Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), Keisai Eisen (1790-1848), Kikukawa Eizan (1787-1867), as well as Hokusai, Eisen, Harunobu and Kunisada books, made in the 19th century, containing original woodblock printing.

Organized by MNLR and Serban and Associates Law Firm, in partnership with the Cultural Association "Painter Octavian Smigelschi" and the Brukenthal National Museum, the exhibition "Celebrities in the Floating World" can be visited until April 10.



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