日本語版はこちらComedy and Tragedy in the Prints of Masami Teraoka
The paintings and prints produced by Masami Teraoka (b. 1936) from the 1960s through the early 1980s were strongly influenced by ukiyo-e woodblock print artists such as Utagawa Kunisada (1786–1865). Like Kunisada’s triptychs, works by Teraoka such as Woman and Iris (1980) are luxuriously detailed compositions further enhanced by elegant calligraphy reminiscent of a jōruri (puppet play) libretto. Many of these images were intended as whimsical expressions of sexual liberation at that time. As with the comedic Kabuki scenes that Kunisada occasionally depicted, these images present a world charmingly out of alignment.
The Kabuki stage and the prints of Kunisada, however, are equally well-known for their Grand Guignol tales of horror and tragedy, and in the mid 1980s, when the AIDS crisis shattered the lives of his close friends, Teraoka drew inspiration from the dark side of his artistic heritage. His AIDS series began in 1986 with the folding screen American Kabuki / Oishiiwa, which combines elements from The Great Wave off Kanagawa (c. 1830–1832) by Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) with those from Yotsuya Kaidan (1825), a gruesome Kabuki play of murder and revenge. In Sarah and the Octopus / Seventh Heaven (2001), produced fifteen years later and on display nearby, Teraoka continues that grim journey through the nightmarish landscape of our current sexual culture. Even in his Hawaii Snorkel Series (1993), which departs from the discussion of sexually transmitted diseases, Hokusai’s waves ominously churn around Caucasian female bathers and Japanese male tourists, who engage in a dance of suspicion, embarrassment, and lust.