Dragon B

Dragon B

Dragon B, Toshi Yoshida, woodblock print, 1955

This woodcut relief print uses a simple black background, with the actual design utilizing a restrained palette of white and grey as elemental shapes.  From 1952 to 1975, Toshi Yoshida created 289 non-objective prints, with this print being one of them.  This print, falling near the beginning of this period in Toshi Yoshida’s work, embodies both simplicity and directness. The design shows some sort of mythic beast, with the jagged lines embodying the qualities of lightning.  Against the black-framed background, these lines stand out well, with the eyes being immediately drawn to the simplistic intricacies of the lines.  All tips point to the circular structure on the left hand side of the print, which is where the two white electric dragons appear to be arriving at, giving a sense of unity amongst chaos.

Or perhaps the circular structure is the dragon itself, chasing its tail.  That this structure would be the dragon is evidenced by its patterned texture.  The white lines or lightning appear to have arrived quickly, enveloping the dragon at play.  These white lines may be entangling the dragon, or possibly just giving it a visit, even playing along with the dragon as it goes on its way.  If the dragon is being entangled, this suggests that the white lines, which may in fact be a dragon itself, appears to be winning, as it clearly has the upper hand, since the textured, grey dragon appears to be wounded. The confusion of the dragon with the lightning, both powerful entities, makes us question which is which, suggesting that each is interchangeable with one another.

Ben Landsteiner and Pa Kou Vang

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Benjamin Landsteiner / / Pa Kou Vang