From the Collection: No Up No Down

This colorful work by Japanese artist Ay-O joined the collection in 2010.

In this artist’s proof, Ay-O explores subject matter typical of his oeuvre: animals. Such subjects have a long tradition in Japanese printmaking, especially the genre of kacho-e (flower and bird pictures). The title of this work also references the artist’s participation in the Fluxus movement, with its emphasis on the indeterminate nature of the art object and the playful potential of language. While “No Up No Down” is the English title, the artist has added other notations in Japanese, in yellow ink. Along the bottom we read, “A conversation of two birds flying abreast,” which could also be translated as “A conversation of a happily married couple,” a recurrent theme in the artist’s work. The text on the left margin says, “This work has no subordinate side,” indicating that this work could be displayed in any orientation, with no true up and no true down.

The work is on view through June 29 in the New Arrivals exhibition.

image source: No Up No Down


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