Hokusai Exposed: The Floating World Re-Created

Sarah Stewart
By Sarah Stewart Last edited 63 months ago
Hokusai Exposed: The Floating World Re-Created
Great Wave Off Kanagawa
Great Wave Off Kanagawa

Turn a corner on Brick Lane into the Old Truman Brewery's Ely Yard Gallery Space, and you will find yourself immersed in 18th century Edo Japan, by way of artist and printmaker Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) through the exhibition Hokusai Exposed. The two floors of the gallery feature "recreations" of Hokusai's works in which digital technology is used to restore the paintings to their original colours, textures and imagery on original materials. This enables close examination of these works that would be otherwise impossible with the fragile and rare originals. These modern recreations have been generated by the Re-Create Project, with the objective of creating an immersive gallery experience.

The upper floor showcases Hokusai's landscape prints, including the Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji, and most notably, the Great Wave Off Kanagawa. The landscapes are graphic and crisp and the bright colours resonate. One can almost sense the mountain mist in the air, or feel the breeze blowing across a field.

Downstairs, you are provided with a traditional paper lantern and can explore the darkened, lantern-lit corridors and small galleries, which provide a more intimate, interactive experience. There, you will find Hokusai's ghosts, humourous manga caricatures and erotic shunga illustrations, including the infamous Dream of the Fisherman's Wife (for which you will also be provided with 3D glasses). The gallery also includes a virtual trip into the Yoshiwara pleasure zone, juxtaposing Hokusai's illustrations of the "Floating World" replete with figures from Japanese Kabuki and Bunraku theatre, geisha and pleasure seekers drinking sake, to modern posters advertising Tokyo nightclubs. The sound effects, lighting and film projection at the end of the main corridor highlight the artworks on display.

Upon exiting from this exhibition of the Floating World, be certain to treat yourself to some of the many varieties of sake on sale at the pop-up Hokusai Sake Bar, an escape into reality from this virtual world.

Hokusai Exposed runs until 17 November at the Old Truman Brewery (Ely's Yard, 15 Hanbury Street, across from Rough Trade East), E1 6QR. £5.50/£5 (£3.30/£3 12-18 Year Olds). Tickets can be booked here. Please note that part of this exhibition is restricted to over-18s only.

Last Updated 05 November 2013