Keiko SATÔ

(Japan 1960 – )

Vol. 1 - Prosperity in spring at 'Dream Land'

Not on display
Further information

Obviously influenced by the surreal, the comic, the contradictory and the nonsensical, as well as by European modernist and fairy-tale graphic traditions, Sato creates meticulously detailed fantasy realms. Born in Gunma Prefecture and educated at Musashino Art University, Sato now resides in Tokyo which is the inspiration for her images. She wants to express the contemporary Tokyo she lives in - the 'Dream Land' is an island made of garbage thrown out by Tokyo citizens.

She has modelled her format on the polychrome triptychs of the traditional 'ukiyo-e' school of the late Edo-early Meiji periods (eighteenth-nineteenth centuries). Sato is translating into modern relevance the topical journalistic narrative of such triptychs as well as their playfulness and wit. Even her title mimics the jokiness and allusiveness of contemporary 'ukiyo-e' prints which in their turn used Japan's classical past as a vehicle for their humour.

The architecture of Oykot is as fantastic as some of the escapist architecture of coffee shops and pubs around Tokyo. Recalling Western artists as diverse as Escher, Goya and Brueghel, the images are a divertingly eclectic mix: a people-eating machine, a dragon wearing a walkman, fairy-tale individuals busy with their business as the sun sets on the empire. This is a sardonic assessment of urban life in Japan.

Jackie Menzies, Contemporary Japanese Prints: The Urban Bonsai, 1992, pg. 88.

Place of origin
Japan: Heisei period 1989–
etching and aquatint
44.0 x 102.0 cm image; 58.0 x 109.0 cm sheet
Signature & date

Signed l.r., pencil "Keiko Sâteau". Not dated.

Gift of the artist 1993
Accession number