佐伯俊男

 

1945年宮崎生まれ。絵師。

大阪へ移住した4歳のとき、隣家の縁側への落描きを当主人に褒められたことが、以後絵画を志す大きな契機となる。近所の子供たちとよく遊び、自作の紙芝居を披露する人気者でこの頃から絵画のみならず”エンタテイナー”としての才覚を遺憾無く発揮していた。

 

1960年京都の美術高校へ入学。

石膏デッサンや油絵を学ぶ。
友人たち頼まれて春画を描いていたことからあだ名は「絵師」だった。

 

1963年大阪の広告デザイン会社に勤める。

当時まだ「図案」と言われていたグラフィックデザインを覚えるも3年ほどで辞め、海外貧乏旅行を決行、ソ連、ヨーロッパ、中近東、東南アジアを巡る。

 

1969年自身の表現の場を求めて上京。

アパートの四畳半に籠り独自の表現を模索する。精根尽き果てる直前に突如誕生した特異な画風は、寺山修司、澁澤龍彦、永六輔らの激励を受け、翌70年『平凡パンチ』でデビュー。『佐伯俊男画集』(アグレマン社)を処女出版する。同年パリで個展が開催されるが原画全てを盗まれる。

 

その後、出版界を中心に国内外で活躍。1972年にはジョン・レノンとオノ・ヨーコのアルバム『Sometime in New York City』のジャケットのアートワークに作品が採用される。また、1979年にフランスで作品集が劇場版アニメ映画化(アルゴス・フィルム)され、セザール賞で短編映画賞を受賞する。そして1996年に著書『痴虫2号』の序文にティモシー・リアリィ博士からエロティック・エンジニアとの賛辞を贈られる。

 

その作品は、自身が生まれ育った戦後日本の大衆文化とポップアートを融合させ、エロス、ユーモア、ホラーなどの要素をカラフルでセンセーショナルに表現している。あらゆる性のタブーを破った超越的世界は見る者を挑発し、魅了する。しかし、単なるエロティックな描写だけにとどまらず、愛や欲望、そしてジェンダーについての新しい解釈を提示する独自の洗練された美学を生み出している。

 

創作のスタイルは、浮世絵のように「絵師」である自身が絵を描き、色を指定し、「刷り師」がそれを刷るという独自の手法「チント印刷」で行った。したがって原画は線画のみであり、印刷されて初めて色の付いた完成品となる。 この手法により「線」と「色面」で構成された「平面性」が強調され、作品に独特の個性を与えている。

 

近年では、ニューヨーク、サンフランシスコ、ロンドン、パリ、テルアビブ、香港、トロント、台北などで展覧会を開催し、その全てが高い評価を受けている。その要因は極めて日本的な設定でありながら、既成概念や価値観を破壊し、見る者に自分の中に隠された本当の姿を突きつけるその普遍性にあるのだろう。

 

晩年は千葉県山中にて創作、読書、野草の生花等を楽しみ、妻と共に生活そのものを愛して過ごした。

Toshio Saeki

 

Born 1945, Miyazaki prefecture, Japan. “Eshi (one who draws.)”

Raised in Osaka since 4 years of age, engrossed in drawing and playing games with other children, often being the center of attention with his hand-made kamishibai (picture-cards story telling) and his natural talent as “entertainer.”

 

Enters the Western Painting Department of Kyoto Municipal Hiyoshigaoka High School Art Program (the current Doda Fine and Applied Arts High School) in 1960, and studies plaster sketching and oil painting. It was at this time that he was given the nickname, “Eshi” as he often answered requests from his friends to draw shunga (Japanese erotic drawings.)

 

Started working at a design firm in Osaka in 1963 and learns the newly introduced technique of graphic design, but quits after 3 years to make a trip overseas, visiting the Soviet Union, Europe, Middle East, and Southeast Asia on a limited budget.

 

Moves to Tokyo in 1969, seeking a place to express himself.

Shuts himself away inside a tiny apartment to seek his own creative style. Comes up with a peculiar original form of expression just before he completely ran out of energy, and it gathers attention of notable artists and writers of time such as Shuji Terayama, Tatsuhiko Shibusawa, and Rokusuke Ei, and makes a debut on the Heibon Punch magazine. After publishing his first book, Saeki Toshio Gashu (Drawings by Toshio Saeki), has a solo exhibit in Paris of the drawings from the book, but ends up having all the artworks stolen.

 

Was active both within and outside Japan ever since. In 1972, his work appears on the album jacket of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s album, Sometime in New York City. In 1979, has his work made into animation by French production company, Argos Films, and wins Best Short Film at the César Awards. Was also given the title, “Erotic Engineer” by Timothy Leary in the preface to his book Chimushi 2 (Dimensia Insects 2) in 1996.

 

Combining the post war Japanese popular culture of his youth, pop art, and his own sophisticated aesthetics; created a colorful and sensational world of eros, humor, and horror to mischievously provoke and enchant the observer by breaking all sexual taboos. Yet his works go beyond just being erotic depictions by presenting new interpretation of love, desire and gender roles.

 

His drawings were created by using an original method called “chinto printing” which is much like the Ukiyoe style where the “eshi” draws the art and the “surishi” prints it. Saeki as eshi would draw the work and specify the colors, and his surishi would print them. Thus, his original works are mostly line drawings, and the work becomes a colored complete piece only after they are printed. This technique emphasizes the "flatness" composed of "lines" and "colored surfaces," and gives the work a unique character.

 

In recent years, Saeki has had exhibits in New York, San Francisco, London, Paris, Tel Aviv, Hong Kong, Toronto, Taipei, etc., all of them being received with much critical acclaim. Perhaps this is because his works have very Japanese settings, but at the same time, holds the powerful effect to destroy all preconceived ideas and values, and shows the observers what is real and hidden within themselves. This is what makes his works universal.

 

Saeki spent his later years in the mountains of Chiba prefecture, drawing, reading, enjoying ikebana of wildflowers; treasuring and loving the activities of everyday life with his wife.

 

 


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