Leif Siegrist – “Chisana Jinja”


January 26–February 6

Leif Siegrist

January 26 – February 6

The Anderson is pleased to present Chisana Jinja by AFO student Lief Siegrist as part of its Open Call exhibition proposal initiative. 

The exhibition is located at the top of the second floor in Gallery E.

Artist Statement

I’ve always had a particular obsession with Japanese landscapes, printmaking, and architecture. This fascination probably originated from the animated films of Hayao Miyazaki that I watched as a young child. Movies such as Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away are replete with Japanese architecture and landscapes, with zen-like gardens and hydrangea bushes next to towering bathhouses adorned with intricate details. Long after I had watched these movies I discovered Ukiyo-e, Japanese wood-block prints that were popular in the 17th through 19th centuries, by artists including Hiroshige and Hokusai. 

 During the Taishō and Shōwa periods of the early 20th century, there was a revitalization of Ukiyo-e, an art movement known as Shin-Hanga, a style that required collaboration of artists, carvers, and printers such as Kawase Hasui. Even as I knew that I could probably never truly emulate these works, it truly captured my interest. Hiroshi Yoshida, one of the masters of Shin-Hanga, often used the same woodblocks and varied the colours he used to suggest different moods.

Inspired by pop artists like Andy Warhol, I was intrigued by the idea of making the often-muted tones of Shin-Hanga more bright and in a sense less realistic. In my piece I struggled to control the watercolour I used in relatively small areas. To solve this I decided, in the best interest of keeping the colours within their borders, that I would use Copic markers for the most small spaces. I intended to emulate the mokuhanga technique of water based inks, as opposed to oil inks used in Western printmaking, when I used watercolour. The transparency of water-based inks was similar in my desire to use Copic markers and liquid watercolour to layer certain parts of my piece.

In some of my work the lack of perspective and flatness is notable. This is because I decided early on to frequently reject the Uki-e style of employing Western linear perspectives. Instead I often embraced the Yamato-e style of the 15th century Muromachi period. Yamato-e, inspired by Tang dynasty paintings, further developed 

in the late Heian period to become what is considered the classical style of Japanese art. Ukiyo-e in general have consistently distinguishable lines as noticed through my work employing Iron-wire lines.

This collection presents a cohesion of period and contemporary Japan through linework reminiscent of Shin-Hanga style Ukiyo-e prints, juxtaposed with colour palettes typically associated with pop-art printmaking. Complimenting each other, I chose to include work that presents modern day landscapes in addition to more traditional ones, bringing together a culmination of Japanese aesthetics.