NANZUKA is pleased to present an exhibition of works by the legendary artist Toshio Saeki. This marks Saeki’s first solo presentation at the gallery, and is the largest solo exhibition to date to feature a comprehensive selection of his original works.
Toshio Saeki was born in 1954 in the Miyazaki prefecture, and after spending his childhood years in Osaka, moved to Tokyo in 1969. His distinct works that interwove elements of eroticism, humor, and horror had gained the praise of Shuji Terayama and Tatsuhiko Shibusawa, leading to him to make his debut on the pages of Heibon Punch magazine in 1970. In the same year he released his first publication entitled Toshio SAEKI art book（Agrément-sha）, and despite holding an exhibition that introduced the original works featured, all of such had been stolen after its closing. Saeki’s work soon gained enthusiastic popularity internationally, such as its use for the cover of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s 1972 album,“Sometime in New York City.”
The world of black humor and eroticism that permeate Saeki’s works is replete with provocative gimmickry, which by means of unveiling various sexual taboos, serves to stimulate our inner selves. From observing the high literary qualities of his works as conceived through the various forms of love and desire that are inherent within them, it is indeed evident that such have not necessarily been depicted through mere lustful inclinations. Moreover, viewers recognize how the “lines” which define the exquisite boundaries between the simplicity and calculation that constitutes his works as art, through them increasingly amplify their persuasiveness.
Saeki’s works that can indeed be considered as contemporary Shunga (erotic art) or Yokaiga
(ghost and monster art) are not confined to the context of Japan’s underground illustration scene. Saeki continues to receive increasing international acclaim, having held exhibitions in recent years in countries across the globe including the UK, France, Israel, the US, Canada, Hong Kong, and Taiwan; as well as the successive release of his publications such as Rêve écarlate（éditions Cornélius), YUMENOZOKI: Toshio Saeki Artist Book (Kokushokankokai Inc.), and Toshio Saeki 70 (Seirin Kogeisha).
In addition to some new works, this exhibition introduces a selection of Saeki’s original illustrations centering on those produced between the 1970s and 1980s. On this occasion, Saeki also engages in the challenge of creating a large-scale mural in color.
An opening reception with the artist will be held on January 20 (Sat).