The Guardians of Edo Avant-Garde

The Guardians of Edo Avant-Garde reveals the pivotal role Japanese artists of the Edo era (1603 – 1868) played in setting the stage for the “modern art” movement in the West. During the Edo era, while a pacified Japan isolated itself from the world, audacious Japanese artists innovated stylization, abstraction, minimalism, surrealism, geometric composition and the illusion of 3-D.

The Guardians of Edo Avant-Garde reveals the pivotal role Japanese artists of the Edo era (1603 – 1868) played in setting the stage for the “modern art” movement in the West. During the Edo era, while a pacified Japan isolated itself from the world, audacious Japanese artists innovated stylization, abstraction, minimalism, surrealism, geometric composition and the illusion of 3-D. Their elegant originality is most striking in images of the natural world depicted on folding screens and scrolls by Sotatsu, Korin, Okyo, Rosetsu, Shohaku and many others who left their art unsigned. 

To capture the dynamism, scale and meticulous details of the art, Japan’s master cinematographer worked with Sony's cutting-edge 4K camera and filmed two hundred works of art in museums and private collections across the U.S. and Japan, along with remote temples and shrines and in bamboo groves, misted valleys and churning waves that inspired the artists centuries ago. Curators, restorers, collectors and scholars provide insights into the genesis of their mesmerizing, prescient visions.

The film’s director is Linda Hoaglund (Wings of Defeat, ANPO: Art X War, Things Left Behind, The Wound and The Gift), the cinematographer is Kasamatsu Norimichi (Japanese Academy Award winner 2014), the editor is William Lehman, the composers are Satoshi Takeishi and Shoko Nagai.

Documentary feature film, running time 90 minutes.

For inquiries, contact linda@lhoaglund.com