Shunga: Eroticism and Dreams of Edo Period

Queer Zagreb, Zagreb / Croatia

May 22–June 9, 2019
May 24, 2019
HDLIU / Croatian Association of Visual Artists
Trg zrtava fasizma 16
HR- Zagreb

Queer Zagreb and HDLU (Croatian Association of Artists) present an exhibition of shunga woodblock prints from a private collection of curators Zvonimir Dobrovic and Bruno Isakovic. Over 100 works by major Japanee ukiyo-e artists, including Hokusai, Utamaro, Kunisada, Shuncho, Eisan, Harunobu, Koryusai and many others, will be shown for the first time in Croatia.

Shunga, literally meaning "spring pictures," are erotic images that have been produced mainly between 1600–1900 and were banned in Japan for most of the 20th century. During Edo period (1603–1867) in Japan they were very popular works that celebrated sexual pleasure, often in humorous manner. These images remain today as brilliantly drawn and coloured reminder of a time in Japan when it was drastically changing economically, politically and socially. First encounter with shunga images may be provocative as we are confronted with myriad new perspectives on traditional erotic art, a vast unexpected range of symbols, compositions, textual references and phantasies.

Celebrating these images today we are able to open up a discussion about sexuality in our current societies and use shunga once again as an art form that not only entertains but educates. These valuable prints are still rarely to be seen in major institutions or exhibited in large numbers and this exhibition in Zagreb thoroughly covers the golden age of shunga and provides a historic and artistic insight into a wonderful world of desires, lust and eroticism so spectacularly done by Japanese woodblock masters.

The exhibition Eroticism and Dreams of Edo Period is available to tour from December 2019. For further information or touring, please email: zvonimir.dobrovic [​at​]

Curators: Zvonimir Dobrovic / Bruno Isakovic

Hours: Wednesday–Friday 11am–7pm, Saturday–Sunday 10am–6pm