The virtual tour of major exhibition, Enchanted Worlds: Hokusai, Hiroshige and the Art of Edo Japan, has been updated to now include audio tours and a te reo Māori experience.
This new virtual tour platform – which takes these exquisite paintings from the walls of the Gallery and presents them online for people to explore from home – was developed during the Gallery’s temporary closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year.
Viewed via a web browser on computer, tablet or smartphone device, users are able to choose between three different tour experiences: a family tour with fun facts and art-making activities; a curator’s highlight tour that covers insights and stories on Edo-period poetry, music, theatre, fashion and visual arts; and an in-depth exhibition experience with extended artwork labels.
Using navigation tools to virtually ‘walk’ through gallery spaces, users can explore Enchanted Worlds via high-resolution digital images offering close-up views of the intricate, hand-painted details of over 70 exquisite and rare artworks, including delicate silk paintings, precious scrolls and vibrant folding screens.
The exhibition presents a captivating introduction to the characters, places and pastimes of a flourishing era during Japan’s more-than 250 years of self-imposed isolation from the world. See life as it was captured by the most popular artists of the period, including Katsushika Hokusai, Andō Hiroshige, Kitagawa Utamaro and Keisai Eisen.
Known as ukiyo-e, or pictures of the ‘Floating World’, the artworks in this exhibition encompass the seductive charms and entertainments of the Yoshiwara Pleasure Quarter of Edo (Tokyo) with its beautiful courtesans and expressive actors. There are iconic depictions of popular and seasonal landmarks, including rare paintings of snow-capped Mount Fuji, waterfalls, rivers and blossoming trees. Visitors will also be introduced to the symbolic world of animals and to the imaginary realms of myth and legend, inhabited by dragons and fantastic beings.
Enchanted Worlds: Hokusai, Hiroshige and the Art of Edo Japan will demonstrate the enduring influence of Edo-period art through the inclusion of two digital artworks from celebrated contemporary artist Tabaimo and renowned international art collective teamLab. Using 21-st century technologies, both animate and bring to life the mysterious beauty of the Floating World evoked in woodblock prints and golden screens.
Auckland Art Gallery Director Kirsten Paisley says: ‘Hokusai, Hiroshige and their contemporaries worked in a mode of art that continues to intrigue and delight audiences today. Painted centuries ago, at the core of this exhibition are over 70 examples of the most-prized form of painting from this period. These original works on paper or silk are extremely rare and scarcely seen outside Japan.’
Enchanted Worlds: Hokusai, Hiroshige and the Art of Edo Japan has been curated by Japanese scholar, Rossella Menegazzo (Università degli Studi di Milano Statale), in collaboration with Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki curators, and is organised by MondoMostre, Italy.