Part 1

Research

Collections: Yves Klein

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- Large Blue Anthropometry, (280 x 428 cm), Dry pigment and synthetic resin on paper, mounted on canvas

"For his Anthropométries series, Klein famously used nude female models drenched in paint as “brushes.” His system of pressing bodies against the paper support (which was later mounted on canvas) rejected any illusion of a third dimension in the pictorial space. In these works, the subject, object, and medium become confused with one another to produce a trace of the body’s presence."

Klein's work was suggested to me during the group crit today. Personally, I have not really taken a liking to his work. I can see similarities between his and mine through using other people as tools to apply medium to paper. However, I do not like the seemingly intentional use of the women's bodies. When using an entire body to create art on the floor, there is no order, pattern or normality to the work. Through my use of footprints I am looking specifically at the movement of a person when they are doing a specific thing, these marks made by the footprints are simply enhancements of what would naturally be there. To me, it would be far more interesting for the artist to have studied someone lying down whilst performing an activity that would conventionally be done lying down, for example, sleeping.

Having disliked this artist's work, I have developed on my own ideas. I had not thought of studying any other type of everyday activities other than those involving footprints left behind. If I had more time for this project, I would like to go on to work with studying the movement of people within their everyday lives through the prints they naturally leave, this would expand my project from only studying footprints to others, for example, handprints and full bodies. 

 

 

Collections: Trisha Brown

 

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- Compass, 2006, Soft ground etching with relief roll

"Brown used paper roughly the size of her body and moved across it with charcoal and pastel held by her hands and feet – pivoting, rolling and skidding. When the work is paired with video documentation, as in this exhibition, you can cheat and assign the marks with their corresponding gestures." (Frieze.com)

Brown uses her body and skills within dance and performance to create artwork. The fact that these pieces' initial purposes were to document ideas within dance sparked my interests within her work. Her thought process was not to create a beautiful image, but to study the shapes that a body movement would create when recorded using paper and charcoal. To me, similarities can be drawn between this and Nauman's work as he records his activities within his studio to document his movement and Brown records her dance pieces to document her ideas. Both carrying out creative activities whilst also creating this unpredictable art with their bodies.

Brown's piece compass gives a feeling of a very quick movement with the feet only hitting the paper around 4 times. The sweeping lines between the footprints give the piece a romantic, fast pace feel. However, at first glance, my interpretation of this piece was that the movement was rather careless. This is interesting as the initially thought 'carelessness' hugely contrasts the intention of recording a precise idea. 

Collections: Bruce Nauman's Dance or Exercise on the Perimeter of a Square

 

 

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Although Nauman's piece is a form of performance art and video, his work initially stood out to me due to the  piece's similarities to my work: The use of feet and movement and "expressing the passage of time, its functioning and continuity" ( www.macba.cat).After reading this article, I began to further relate to Nauman's ideas surrounding the question:

“What does an artist do when he’s alone in his studio? My conclusion was that [if] I was an artist and I was in the studio, then whatever I was doing in the studio must be art. At this point art became more of an activity and less of a product.” - www.macba.cat 

The discussion of art becoming an activity and less of a product draws similarities for my desire to record footprints within a larger, more famous and popular exhibition or gallery. 

However, I like that the artist studies his own personal movement within his studio. This brings to mind ideas of recording and keeping a personal diary of ones life. Each footstep will remind that person of the movements they made and what they were doing. For me, this provokes rather lonely yet poetic thoughts and feelings. 

I am now questioning why I have only used other people's footprints to collect information about their movement. This makes me think about possible comparisons and 2 piece artworks: one activity carried out by a stranger with their footprints recorded, and that same activity carried out by me with my footprints recorded. This would draw on the idea of self comparison and insecurity through the comparison of my life to a complete stranger, again, a very lonely emotion. 

Collections: On Kawara's I GOT UP

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It is not the visual aspects of On Kawara's work that caught my attention, however the process in which the work has been collected. Kawara places complete trust in others for the creation of his pieces as he sends the postcards to selected individuals across countries and continents, recording what time he got up and where. He places trust in everyone involved in the travel of these postcards as without this, his piece would not be possible. 

So far, my work with footprints has been using mine, along with other people's that I know and trust. However, with my plans to create a gallery space and collect footprints on the floor I would like to place trust, as Kawara has, in complete strangers to help create my artwork. In the future, when I am not constricted by a timeframe for my work I would then like to experiment with working in larger and more popular galleries or open spaces with large amounts of the public visiting per day. Similar to Kawara's work, the more trust I place in strangers to create this piece with me, the further my project will go and I will collect a lot more information through footprints. 

Collections: Eadweard Muybridge's The Horse In Motion

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I came across these stills of Muybridge's motion photography when looking for artists that use the concept of movement within their work. The stills of his work reminded me of my own 10 pieces that could be seen as 'stills' from the 10 hour collection of footprints. I like how each 'still' shows a moment of movement, recording it without any visual movement. However, in Muybridge's work, when these images are collected together and combined and viewed consecutively at fast pace, a moving image is created.

This is something I could possibly experiment with, although the time frames I have (1 hour each) may be long. I would therefore have to change the piece of paper on the floor much more often; possibly every 5 minutes?

 

Collections: Idris Khan's Homage to Bernd Becher

 

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Initially, Becher's Gas Tanks piece struck me through its cleverly thought out simplicity. The standardisation of each photograph through lighting and angle makes all the buildings, although different, seem entirely the same. The collection of images give a structure so full of power a calm and eery feel. This is similar to the atmosphere I feel I have created within the 10 collections of footprints. Footprints offer powerful information about people and their lives, yet the prints on the paper create a very empty, clinical atmosphere. I therefore connected with their work on Gas Tanks and other pieces, considering their standardised and minimalistic form of presentation for my own collection. 

 

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However, after becoming exposed to Khan's piece Homage to Bernd Becher, I was excited by the confusion of the piece. At first glance, I assumed this image was an architectural style drawing, although slightly messy. However, after learning that this was simply a combination of all of Becher's Gas Tanks this piece was far more interesting. The way the lines and structures within each photograph combine to make such an intense and energetic piece is completely contrasting to the individual photograph's order and standardisation. I like how Khan purposely created disorder from something that made sense. This is something I would like to consider within my work as I currently have a collection of 10 pieces - footprints that are clear and organised in an orderly, hour by hour time frame. I would like to maybe play around with these images and see how I could present them in a different way. Possibly rather than aiming to show what times people were present, I could use this to show how many were present over the evening.

Tate Modern Gallery Visit for 'Collections': Bela Kolarova

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In this piece, Kolarova has collected paperclips together, presenting them in a systematic style to create a subtle, larger image of a paperclip.

“Solution for Clips 1969 is an assemblage of paperclips on board. Kolárová arranged the clips in regular columns, but made slight alterations so that the outline of a large paperclip can be detected in the arrangement of paperclips. In this way the usual distinction between image and medium – in this case both paperclips – is playfully collapsed. The paperclips are attached to the board by glue and the support board of the work is signed and dated by the artist. The black cloth-covered frame was made specifically for the work and designed by the artist.”

I really like the idea that the medium is the image and the image is the medium. It’s a very simple yet clever way of presenting a mundane collection of paperclips. Although there is no historical or social deeper meaning behind this piece, the play on medium and image is comic and engaging. A basic collection of everyday objects does not have to be boring.

 

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/kolarova-solution-for-clips-t12877

Tate Modern Gallery Visit for 'Collections': Ana Lupas

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Before reading the context of Lupas’ piece, I struggled to connect her work with ‘collections’ other than through a collection of photographs and pipes.


“Beginning in 1964, Ana Lupas oversaw the creation of large straw structures in villages in Transylvania. She enlisted the help of villagers who used weaving techniques traditionally employed to make wreaths for harvest festivals. Lupas originally saw the artwork as the communal act of making and displaying these objects in the local area.
Lupas defined her role as ‘a bridge between the ancestral and the future’. Individual structures might change and decay, but the artwork remained as long as the process continued over time and the activity expanded out to involve new participants. The project developed in this way, but by the mid-1970s, the economic and social changes in Romania made it difficult for participants to continue.
Lupas could no longer ensure that new objects would be made each year. This changed the status of the structures from products of an ongoing process to relics. Lupas tried different ways to preserve them, first by restoring the original wreaths, then by drawing them, making more than 200 drawings. Eventually, in the early 2000s, she developed the technique of sealing them in metal ‘tins’. This solution satisfied the artist as a practical means of preservation and a way of combining the natural and traditional ‘wreaths of wheat’ with modern, industrial associations through the metal casing.”


https://www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-modern/display/performer-and-participant/ana-lupas

After reading this context I decided that Lupas’ work was a collection of traditions, collection of people, and a collection of developments over time. I really like this form of collection as it is slightly deeper than simply a collection of photographs or objects. The metal structures are evidence of her work in Romania, rather than sculptures in themselves. This is captivating as knowing the story behind her intentions makes the objects seem far more important than they had been on first impressions. The context is also important to connect the photographs to the metal structures as initially, it was difficult to focus on them both being connected.
Within Lupas’ work, I have learnt that sometimes the context can make the artwork mean a lot more than one originally thinks. I find this type of art a lot more interesting than pieces like like Matin Parr’s which seem very literal.

Tate Modern Gallery Visit for 'Collections': Marina Abramovic

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Tate Modern Gallery Visit for 'Collections': Jenny Holzer

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In this piece, Holzer has collected letters forming words, forming opinions and truths in columns. The masses of words and honest statements reaching the ceiling is very intense and slightly disorientating. The capital letters and bold typeface used creates forceful but simple messages.

Within a lot of the works I have looked at on my visit to the Tate there are common themes of repetition, intensity and a systematic style or presentation. This display of Holzer’s collection is not something I connected well with, the room was slightly too overwhelming to focus on all of the words and sentences within it - this may have been one of her intentions, however, I’m not sure I will take away any inspiration from her work.

Tate Modern Gallery Visit for 'Collections': Martin Parr

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Parr has collected a series of his own photographs exploring themes of class, leisure, consumer culture at home in Britain and abroad.

In the particular piece photographed, he presents the collection in a systematic grid, similar to the organised style of Ruwedel’s photography.

Personally, although the display and colours are aesthetic, I dislike the seemingly random order and subject of the photography. In comparison to the other pieces exhibited within the gallery, this piece of work seemed to lack depth and intrigue. I now know that from my work on ‘Collections’ I want to look further than the simple idea of a random collection of things.

Tate Modern Gallery Visit for 'Collections': Cildo Meireles

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Meireles presents ‘collections’ in multiple different forms within this piece. The collected things include; vintage analog radios, broadcasted voices, music, and lights. Meireles has also collected information from the bible to influence his work.

“Meireles refers to a ‘tower of incomprehension’ (quoted in Tate Modern 2008, p.168). The installation manifests, quite literally, a Tower of Babel, relating it to the biblical story of a tower tall enough to reach the heavens, which, offending God, caused him to make the builders speak in different tongues. Their inability to communicate with one another caused them to become divided and scatter across the earth and, moreover, became the source of all of mankind’s conflicts. The room in which the tower is installed is bathed in an indigo blue light that, together with the sound, gives the whole structure an eerie effect and adds to the sense of phenomenological and perceptual confusion.”

On entering the installation, the intense atmosphere is very overwhelming. It is easy to understand, without knowing the context of this piece, that it was intended to create confusion but also a sense of importance due to the height and size of the tower of radios. Having then read the context of the installation, Meireles has clearly produced an excellent and very literal technological recreation of the Tower of Babel.

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/cildo-meireles-6633

Tate Modern Gallery Visit for 'Collections': Barbara Kruger

 

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Krugers piece displayed on multiple changing screens was one of my favourite pieces of work I saw within the boiler house.

She has collected a number of artists opinions and thoughts on the impact of the media and technology on the way we create and see art. Kruger has presented this on a collection of screens (another form of collection within the collection of quotes).

My favourite aspect of this is how the screens are constantly changing, which could represent the ever developing and changing use of technology within art.

The way she has used technology to present this piece of work is consistent with the theme of her quotes which is, in my opinion, well planned.

Tate Modern Gallery Visit for 'Collections': Theaster Gates

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Behind what you can physically see within Gates work, the artist has collected facts within politics surrounding the Civil Rights Movement. Fire hose pipes were used in a number of situations during the black civil rights movement to fight, destruct and kill. He has also collected questions within himself:

“How do we think of the history of Black political engagement that required acts of unrestrained heroism and life-threatening engagement? What is the state of Civil Rights, especially now that there are splinters of class-based need, new marginalized groups, and the ever present belief that things are better for all because of the election of 2008?
(Gates 2011, accessed August 2012.)’”
https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/gates-civil-tapestry-4-l03666

These are questions that Gates has tried to engrain within his piece, and therefore stimulate a collection of questions within the viewers thoughts.


Gates has displayed this information surrounding the Civil Rights Movement through decommissioned fire hoses that symbolise those used within the political events: In May 1963 a group of black children and students in Birmingham, Alabama, embarked on a peaceful march as part of the struggle for equal rights for black people in America. The Birmingham Commissioner for Public Safety, Eugene ‘Bull’ Connor, ordered the police to use fire hoses to spray the crowd with water in order to break up the march and force the demonstrators into submission. The force of the blasts of water was immense, and many of the children and students were injured. Gates has written, ‘For days, fire hoses and canons were used to intimidate America’s wrongly served.’ (Theaster Gates, press release for An Epitaph for Civil Rights and Other Domesticated Structures, Kavi Gupta, Chicago 2011, http://www.retitle.com/exhibitions/archive_KaviGuptaGallery10939.asp, accessed August 2012.) The police brutality was widely condemned, and with President Kennedy criticising the Birmingham police, these events were seen as a pivotal moment in the Civil Rights Movement. Gates commented, ‘The event led to immediate shifts in the American South and created opportunity for Black people to integrate.’ (Gates 2011, accessed August 2012.)

I really like this piece as, before I read the context of this work, it was very simple and bold. There is such an important and striking meaning to his use of collected decommissioned firehoses, that having read the description of the piece, I was in awe of the simplicity of the collection of objects and how they have caused such destruction. 

 

 

 

 

Tate Modern Gallery Visit for 'Collections': Mark Ruwedel

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Ruwedel has collected and recorded historical landscapes within his is photography, presenting his views surrounding the non existent ‘pure nature’ and his belief that all land is a historical archive. My favourite aspect of this exhibition is the fact that this photography collection has been displayed in a very systematic way, with sub collections depending on the photograph’s theme. For example, there was a collection of photographs themed surrounding any location with a name connecting to Hell or the devil. Other sub collections include remote houses.

I really like this way of presenting a collection of work. Through collecting information in the form of photography to record the historical archive that is our land, he has created a systematic and orderly collection of different types of history within the land.

The physically methodical approach to the term ‘collection’ is apparent within both Ruwedel and Gates’ work, this is something I am interested in looking into for my own work with ‘collections’.

Tate Modern Gallery Visit for 'Collections': Carrie Mae Weems

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Within this exhibition, Weems has collected a vast number of things. From the basic and raw process of collecting letters to form words to create the poetic commentary, to the photographs found in archives and rephotographed for her work. The red tint was collected and added to the photographs and the glass was collected and etched upon. Moving away from the physical aspects of collection within her work, Weems has also collected historical truths surrounding civil rights and slavery and emotions towards these truths, conveying them in the form of the photographs and etched words.

I really like the layout of this exhibit, particularly how Weems begins and ends the sequence with images of the wife of a Mangbetu chief taken in the 1920s in the Belgian Congo. This is intended to suggest that she is witnessing the historical truths of civil rights and slavery. I felt like this created a strong atmosphere of sadness, especially as the wife’s photographs were tinted blue.

“Weems rephotographed and enlarged the images, overlaying them with a red tint and mounting them behind glass. A series of texts were etched onto the glass to form a powerful, poetic commentary. Text and image show African Americans being forced into servile roles, such as cooks, maidservants or sexual objects. They are presented as evidence to prove dubious scientific theories, and as stereotypical characters in novels.
With the image of a man’s brutally whipped back, Weems does not shy away from the violence underlying slavery. She is also willing to confront the complexity of this history, showing that some Black women were forced to give birth to their masters’ children, while another is accused of being an ‘accomplice’. Above all, by addressing the subjects of the photographs as ‘you’, the text encourages the viewer to recognise each face as an individual rather than as an ethnographic or historical type.”

The way Weems intends to present the people photographed works well in terms of ‘proving dubious scientific theories’. For me, this connection is made through the circular shape of the photographs - similar to the pinhole of a scientific telescope.

I like that through consideration of the pronouns used within her writing, she intends for the viewers to connect and feel more empathy for the individuals photographed. This makes the exhibit a far more personal experience.


https://www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-modern/display/artist-and-society/carrie-mae-weems

 

 

Artist: Marina Abramović

"In 1974, Marina Abramović did a terrifying experiment. At a gallery in her native Belgrade, Serbia, she laid out 72 items on a trestle table and invited the public to use them on her in any way they saw fit. Some of the items were benign; a feather boa, some olive oil, roses. Others were not. "I had a pistol with bullets in it, my dear. I was ready to die." At the end of six hours, she walked away, dripping with blood and tears, but alive. "How lucky I am," she says in her still heavy accent, and laughs."

"when she invited the public to use those objects on her frozen figure, Abramović exposed a savagery lurking beneath the surface of otherwise civilised human beings. At first, visitors to the gallery were hesitant to approach her. Then, in a kind of Lord of the Flies scenario, they started subtly to torture her."

 Abramović's work shows strong connections to my plan for my own instillation through the interaction between the audience and the instillation. Her piece acts as an experiment, testing what people do when there are no rules or consequences. This is a very interesting concept within itself and within my piece I feel it will also be an experiment, leaving a visitor alone in a room allows them to consider, feel and do things they may not in an every day situation. The intimacy of this will allow them to be honest when cutting the figure in relation to what makes them feel sensual. The rules Abramović presents the audience with are a lot less restricting as they are allowed to act on whatever they feel. My rules however, restrict the audience to considering sensualism in terms of what makes them feel pleasure, and what would be missing if they couldn't feel pleasure. 

When reading descriptions of Abramović's work, I envisioned an empty room, her lay on a table, with one or two people using these objects on her at a time. Allowing the audience to have the confidence to act as if no one was watching. However, I looked further into this piece and watched a video where stills of the 6 hour piece were shown:

https://vimeo.com/71952791

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This was really interesting as the room in which her piece was held seemed to be full of crowds of people. It was a far more intense and busy situation than I had imagined. Prior to seeing these images, I thought that the atmosphere of her piece was very similar to the atmosphere I want to create within my instillation. However, now I am certain that I would prefer one or two people visiting the instillation at one time to allow them to feel the full intimacy of their thoughts. 

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/may/12/marina-abramovic-ready-to-die-serpentine-gallery-512-hours

 

 

Artist: Berlinde De Bruyckere

"De Bruyckere’s sculptures are stern and static, etherised upon tables or propped on brittle wooden crutches. To survive, sculpture of the flesh must either expose the lifelessness of its medium, slip into kitsch, or somehow transcend its form altogether." - Matilda Bathurst for Apollo 

"Working with casts made of wax, animal skins, hair, textiles, metal and wood, Berlinde De Bruyckere renders haunting distortions of organic forms. The vulnerability and fragility of man, the suffering body – both human and animal – and the overwhelming power of nature are some of the core motifs of De Bruyckere’s oeuvre." - Hauser and Wirth

 De Bruyckere suspends her pieces using frames, tables and many other structures. I like this idea as it gives her pieces some sort of importance over everything else within the room. This is something that could work with my instillation as I wanted the rubber model to be lying on a concrete block bed. This would display to the audience how our pleasure holds a high importance, and therefore the act of removing the areas of pleasure become far more personal and intimate. It would invoke a feeling of vulnerability within the audience.

The intimacy of her pieces is further emphasised through the simplicity and minimalistic style of the instillation spaces. I feel that the spaces can imitate those of an operating theatre, there is something very clinical about them. This is something I had already envisioned for my instillation piece and therefore research into de Bruyckere's work has allowed me to consolidate the idea.

 

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Installation view, ‘Berlinde De Bruyckere. In the Flesh’, Kunsthaus Graz, Austria, 2013

 

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Instillation view, 'Berlinde De Bruyckere. Yara - The Wound; Arter, Instanbul, Turkey, 2012

 

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Instillation view, Berlinde de Bruyckere, Speechless Grey Horse

 

The Speechless Grey Horse piece is interesting because de Bruyckere has not used fleshy, life like tones within this sculpture. I had initially considered using a monotonous colour for the rubber figure in my instillation, however, I feel that it might disconnect the audience from the figure. It leaves more ambiguity, which is not something I want from the piece. The audience should feel connections to the figure at a personal level, allowing them to fully consider what parts of their body feel pleasure.   

Artist: Ellen Gallagher

"The most challenging part of writing about art is that much of what any artwork confronts through image is difficult (if not sometimes impossible) to adequately transfer into words and language. In fact, if it were so easily done, then artists might not feel so compelled to hash out their thoughts and feelings on paper, canvas, or any other of the limitless types of materials available to them. Ellen Gallagher’s visual language is not easily translated into words, but it is obvious that she has built a strong vocabulary to explore her concerns." - Exhibition Review by Ariane Fairlie

Gallagher's work stood out to me within the drawing lecture because I was intrigued by the way she took a readymade photograph and reinvented it through the addition of further drawings with other materials. As a way of working to create a piece, this process is completely new to me and although my instillation will be three dimensional, this process would be an interesting way to explore my ideas rather than simple pencil and pen drawings onto plain paper. This has connections to Quinn's work as they use images and collage to visualise ideas, only differing where Quinn uses these images to plan a three dimensional piece. 

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Piece exhibited at her AxME show at the Tate

Artist: Marc Quinn

"Perhaps unexpectedly, considering the pressure and intensity they embody, the figures evolved through stages of disciplined preparation rather than abandoned outpouring. Quinn used photographs and collaged drawings to select poses and combine body sections; not all couplings of head and torso belong to the same casting session. His performance and method was thus different from the mescaline-influenced, self-portrait snapshots (mini-performances staged in a station photo booth) used by Arnulf Rainer as a basis for his ‘face farce’ drawings of the late 1960s and 1970s." - Sean Rainbird, Tate 

Marc Quinn plans and develops his ideas for his sculpture pieces through "photographs and collaged drawings". Being a less traditional form of drawing, this is not something I have explored in my pervious work. I therefore would like to try this within the planning for my instillation. Particularly when needing to visualise the life size rubber sculpture - photographs of a real life human model could help me. 

Exhibition: "Shunga: Sex and Pleasure in Japanese Art"

"On the one hand, the expertly executed paintings and prints were liberating, featuring both genders freely and enthusiastically partaking in sexual acts. On the other hand, the artworks were light-hearted and comedic, focusing not only on romantic moments but also on the bizarre and awkward contortions that are more laughter-inducing than arousing. One piece shows a powerful women is seen experiencing a “happy ending” while another spotlights a duo of extravagantly clothed lovers attempting to feverishly circumnavigate their never-ending costumes." -The Huffington Post

This is a collection of work exhibited in 2013 that stood out to me when researching pleasure portrayed within artwork online. Although the Japanese Art aspect of the collection is not relevant to the instillation I would like to create, this collection contains artwork portraying humans feeling pleasure. This is really interesting as it illustrates how pleasure is such a subjective and personal sensation. None of the pieces of work within this collection present the same idea surrounding sex and pleasure and often they are not the conventional portrayal of the genital areas. The artists clearly have different views on what pleasure is to them. This is something that I hope, through my instillation, people will consider. This will therefore make their visit to the instillation a very personal and intimate experience whereby they must confront their own senses.  

 

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Chobunsai Eishi (1756–1829); Young woman dreaming of Ise Monogatari

 

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Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), Diving Woman and Octopi

 

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Kitagawa Utamaro, ‘Fancy-free type’ (Uwaki no so), from the series Ten Types in the Physiognomic Study of Women (Fujin sogaku juttai)