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Curator's Talk: In Love and War

Saturday, May 4th


The banquet hall of Designmuseum Danmark


Saturday, May 4th


2:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Price and Admission


Note: Admission to ‘In War and Love’ is included in the ticket, but not the museum’s other exhibitions.


Meet the curators Asato Ikeda and Gunhild Borggreen of the exhibition In Love and War at the Designmuseum Denmark. The exhibition showcases Japanese woodblock prints from the Designmuseum collection. The title of the exhibition evokes the proverb “All is fair in love and war,” implying the unfairness of both domains.

The exhibition In Love and War focuses on the deceptive nature and ideologically constructed aspects of the prints and consists of two sections: prints of beautiful women from the Edo period (1603–1868) and prints of battles and soldiers at war from the Meiji period (1868–1912).

Asato Ikeda’s talk covers the first section of the exhibition on the theme of “Pictures of Beautiful Women” from the Edo period. Some women worked as yūjo (literally, “women for play”), serving customers in several ways, including sexually. These women became the subject of ukiyo-e (“pictures of the floating world”), market-driven popular prints that satisfied the desire of the public—mostly those belonging to the samurai and merchant classes—for entertainment.

Gunhild Borggreen’s talk covers the second section, “Modern Warfare in Japanese Prints,” containing war prints (sensō-e) from the first Sino-Japanese war (1894–1895) and the Russo-Japanese war (1904–1905) from the latter half of the Meiji period. War images were romanticised representations of patriotism and bushidō, samurai spirit, and functioned as visual propaganda for Japanese nation-building and imperialism.

The lectures will be in English. After the lectures, there will be a guided tour of the exhibition.

Everyone is welcome and the event is free of charge. However, there is a limited number of seats available.