As Though Tattooing on My Mind at London Daiwa Foundation, is the first UK exhibition of Japanese poet and artist Gozo Yoshimasu.
Gozo Yoshimasu is one of Japan most prominent poets and artists. He has won many awards including the Takami Jun Prize, the Rekitei Prize, the Purple Ribbon Medal and in 2009, the Mainichi Geijutsu Prize for Omote-gami, a book of photography. Although he has devoted most of the last 50 years to poetry, Yoshimasu has also exercised his art through photography, video and spoken performances. Lately he has worked on gozoCiné – video works.
The exhibition at London Japan House presents some of his latest visual poetry in the form of double-exposure photography, copper-plate engravings, gozoCiné video work and original manuscripts from Kaibutsu-kun – Dear Monster.
No longer practiced, a long Japanese tradition associates tattoos with mystical preoccupations and shamanic powers protecting from enemies. For As Though Tattooing on My Mind, Yoshimasu draws on these cultural understanding to renew his poetic practice post Fukushima – the nuclear power accident that killed 20,000 and forced the evacuation of 280,000 more people – seeking to make “poetry possible after March 2011.”
The exhibition curator Sayuri Okamoto explains in the press release: Yoshimasu “started scribing lines and letters on exceptionally large manuscript paper that he handcrafted every day. The new routine resembled the way that Buddhist monks copy sutras: Yoshimasu devotedly prepared the materials, his groundwork, and ran a pen across them day after day, ‘as though tattooing’ on his mind. Although his works appropriate tragedy as their monstrous source, they also take form as a peculiar offering of prayer.”
As Though Tattooing on My Mind
31 March – 13 May 2014,
Admission free, Monday – Friday, 9.30am-5.00pm
Daiwa Foundation Japan House
13/14 Cornwall Terrace
London NW1 4QP