printed matter <america/japan>


"From 1 to 31 Janaury 1989, I visited Washington D.C., New York, Pittsburgh, Memphis, New Orleans, Santa Fe and other cities around the continental United States on a U.S. Government-sponsored cultural exchange program. And as I always do when traveling, I kept a notebook, pasting in printed materials, photos, plants, whatever I found along the way. Then, 1 February to 14 March found me in studio space at the Austerlitz, New York artist colony, again funded by the U.S. Government. While producing paintings there, I also worked on my notebook, adding on further impressions of America - images of the places I`d visited, images from dreams I`d had during my stay in America.

Upon returning to Japan, I had the good fortune to see this notebook published just half a year later in November by Alpha Cubic/Sublime under the title America II 1989 (a monograph album of my paintings having already been issued by another publisher that October as America). The result book comprised the materials I gathered in America (printed materials,photos, plants, etc.), but was printed on six different Japanese papers in Japanese inks in a limited edition of 1000 copies. When America II 1989 came off the presses I had to wonder - Was this an American book? Or was it a Japanese book? Of course, the obvious thing would have been to call it a Japanese-made book of my own personal experiences in America from January to March 1989, but such objective facts did`t touch the heart of the matter. I was beset by nagging suspicious that many still more possibilities might be explored through offset printing in Japan.

As it turned out , these feeling of mine eventually led to the production of Printed Matter <America/Japan> 1989, which I devised primarily as an means to solve my quandary, overlaying images of America onto "realtime" Japanese images without otherwise manipulating the plates or makig conscious alterations. My method was to first collect random print scraps from the printing house for America II 1989 during the same 13 and 14 November when the printing was stil in process, then to overprint them indiscriminately with "American images" of my own making. In other words, the images I produced in America between 1 January and 14 March 1989 were superimposed at random onto Japanese printed materials from the two days 13 and 14 November of the same time achieving a clearer visualization from my own perspective of the relationship between America and japan as of 1989.

In its final form - a 400 page, 8 color to 16 color offset, edition of 10* - each copy immediately differed in content due to the random diversity of print scraps I�d gathered at the printers, giving me the very same sense of involvement with process I get from painting." (Shinro Ohtake; February 1990; Translation by Alfred Birnbaum)

(*note: the final edition is limited to 50 copies)

Book details:

400 pages

4 to 16 color offset printing. Hard cover bound. Comes in a printed box.

Book size: 30.3 by 21.4 cm; Case: 31.8 by 22.5 cm.

American scrapbook images made in 1989 printed on top of the disposed color printsheets collected at a printing house in Japan.

Year: 1990

Limited edition of 50

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art direction and design: bubble & squeak