The fourth edition of UK-based Baron Books’ “Death Book” series focuses on the work of the late Japanese artist Toshio Saeki (1945-2019).
Rooted in traditional Japanese genres such as Shunga and ero-guro-nonsense, Saeki’s provocative art is characterized by combining eroticism, death, gore and humor in a striking visual style that features elements from traditional ukiyo-e prints, (western and Japanese) comics and contemporary art. With the recurring use of death and violence in his playful, erotic images, Saeki’s work has been previously featured in the “Death Book” series, which examines the various ways in which artists approach the limited nature of life. “Death Book: Toshio Saeki” opens with an extensive essay by graphic designer and art historian Euphemia Franklin.
“Through his distinctive and deceptively simple style of drawing, we are drawn into dangerous situations where the depicted bodies undergo extreme torture and sexual stimulation. Saeki shows the body in situations of near-death, in death itself and beyond-death. With his ambiguous lack of explanation, it is upon the viewer to interpret which of these situations the body is in – whether it is about to die, is dead, or existing as a spirit beyond death – and the eroticism of each.”
― from Euphemia Franklin’s introduction