Erró – Japanese Love Letters (1979–1980) Skip to content

Erró – Japanese Love Letters (1979–1980)

The series Japanese Love Letters, now on display at Reykjavik Art Museum, Hafnarhús, is not typical of Erró’s art, due to its visual content. Here, the written word competes with other pictorial material, and even more by the palette, as these works are all in shades of gray and brown are highly unusual for this color-happy artist.

In the early 1970s, Erró visited Japan. In a second-hand store in Tokyo, he came across an old illustrated book accompanied by photographs and facsimiles of sources (letters, memoranda, pages from books) pertaining to the book’s subjects and their lives.

Fascinated, he persuaded the second-hand dealer to sell him photocopies of all the documents. Once back in Paris, he began to work with the documents without having the least understanding of the text, only gathering from the pictures that the subject pertained to married couples, or pairs.

From this raw material he made collages which became the basis of the series of paintings. Much later, Erró gained knowledge of some of the personages that he had painted: many of them were educated women who had been dissident in Japanese society.

The exhibition will be open until January 3, 2010.

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