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SATO YOSHISUKE. - [Gendai Ryoki Sentan Zukan - more or less: Illustrations of the bizarre in the contemporary avant-garde].

Tokyo, Shinchosa 1931. Large octavo publisher's illustrated cloth blocked in silver & gilt (edges a bit rubbed) in colour illustrated slipcase (edges a bit worn); [8],246,47pp; colour plates and hundreds of photo illustrations, many full page. Some browning at the end. ¶ Fairly wonderful and very Japanese. The world has been ransacked for images but there is a philosophy and method behind this which makes it more than just sensational or a freak show. Exactly what it is I'm not sure. The book is organised into sections: the erotic; the grotesque; nonsense; revue; strange perspective; sport; the avant-garde; the pose; novelty. While it's clear why many of these pictures are so organised it is sometimes puzzling - particularly for those of us who can't read the accompanying text. The human predominates - women in scanties or less never need much excuse to be featured, but I suspect that it is not so much the naked body that is found grotesque here but the extremes to which the natural can be distorted for art and entertainment. If the book stopped there it could be seen as just another example of the ero-guro-nansensu (erotic grotesque nonsense) culture of bourgeois Japan at the time - indeed current scholars have plundered this book for images when discussing ero-guro-nansensu - but the wider, more critical, stance here might be conveyed by one colour picture. Seemingly a typical painting in kitschy tourist brochure style it depicts a classical samurai and sword scene in a small village - nothing unsual until we notice the film crew in the right corner.
AUD 450.00 [Appr.: EURO 287.75 US$ 324.92 | £UK 250 | JP¥ 37011] Book number 8069

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