Streaming: Edo Avant Garde
August 28, 2020–August 31, 2021
The Edo period in Japanese history . . . gave rise to an extraordinary art movement. . . . I would have thought that the only way to appreciate this work was in person, until I saw Linda Hoaglund’s immersive documentary.Michael Fox, KQED Arts
Filmmaker Linda Hoaglund was born and raised in Japan, so it is perhaps no wonder that her documentary Edo Avant Garde involves a cross-cultural study of artistic traditions. The film explores the delicate beauty and variety of folding screen and scroll paintings from the Edo period (1603–1868), examining the innovative techniques of expert painters like Sotatsu, Korin, Okyo, Rosetsu, and Shohaku, as well as many others who left their art unsigned. Curators, historians, and collectors offer insights into subject matter, compositional strategies, techniques, and styles, including experimental approaches and encompassing both representation and abstraction. Comparisons with Western painting from the Renaissance through Impressionism and Abstract Expressionism reveal the impact of Edo-period painting on Western art. Carefully filmed by cinematographer Kasamatsu Norimichi and brimming with detail, the film offers an impressive array of rare artworks held in collections inside and outside Japan. Edo Avant Garde will delight art specialists and general viewers alike.