Icons of power and loyalty, a source of fascination for over a century, the samurai are part of our collective imagination. The historic warrior, armed with a katana and dressed in traditional garb, represents a limitless iconographic source for contemporary artists. The exhibition, entitled L’Arc et le Sabre – Imaginaire Guerrier du Japon, looks at these Japanese warriors who, between the XII and XIX Centuries, occupied the height of the social pyramid, influencing fashion, cinema and artistic production as witnessed by the stunning helmets and their presence, in poetry and prose, of shogun, daimyo and samurai. Built around the samurai, the exhibition, through prints, armour, works of art and photos, retraces the many aspects of these warriors and their cultural context - the aristocratic culture, tea ceremonies, poetry, the way they were perceived, but also fantasy and parody. The Story of the 47 Ronin, a group of samurai without a master (thus making them ronin), set on revenge, is told through a series of prints conserved at the MNAAG. Among the works regarding this subject, the most important, Kanadehon Chushingura, became an important iconographic source for artists in the Edo period and, in particular, for master engravers, including Utagawa Hiroshige, of whom the exhibition offers 15 prints on the theme.
On display, the works of the Argentinian artist convinced that art is not “beauty and originality but efficiency and chaos”.