Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on January 2010

<em>Bush Warbler</em>, 1932, color on silk, 51.6cm x 69cm<br>Private collection

Bush Warbler, 1932, color on silk, 51.6cm x 69cm
Private collection

Settai Komura (1887–1940) was one of the busiest artists of his day. As a kabuki stage set designer, he produced around 200 sets, and in his role as book illustrator he worked on around 300 publications. In between, Komura also found time to produce woodblock prints, paintings and designs for various items, ranging from advertisement posters to fans. Despite this heavy workload, the exhibition Settai Komura and His Era at the Museum of Modern Art Saitama shows that the man was no mere hack, but a sensitive and refined artist. The color-on-silk painting Bush Warbler (1932) has large areas of empty space on each side, a feature designed to make viewers switch off their eyes and switch on their ears to hear the song of the little bird. With around 300 pieces, the exhibition presents a comprehensive survey of Komura’s life and work.

Museum of Modern Art, Saitama
Settai Komura and his Era. Woodblock prints. Until Feb 14, free (MS and under, 65 and over)/¥720 (univ)/¥900 (adult). 9-30-1 Tokiwa, Urawa-ku, Saitama. Tel: 048-824-0111. Open Tue-Sun 10am-5:30pm, closed Mon. Nearest stn: Kita-Urawa. www.momas.jp