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Scholten Japanese Art Gallery
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Paul Binnie Contact Lens

Paul Binnie, Scottish, b. 1967

Flowers of a Hundred Years: Contact Lens [of 1970]
(Hyakunen no Hana: Hyakunen no Hana: 1970 Nen no Kontakuto Renzu)

with details highlighted in bronze, 23 carat gold leaf, and both silver and white mica, the series title Hyakunen no Hana and print title, 1970 Nen no Kontakuto Renzu in karazuri ('blind-printing') on upper left margin, signed in kanji, Bin-ni at lower left followed by red artist's seal Binnie, numbered and signed in pencil on the bottom margin, Paul Binnie, May 2017

dai oban tate-e 18 1/2 by 13 in., 47.1 by 33.1 cm

This is the eighth woodblock print issued in Binnie's Flowers of a Hundred Years series, which explores the lives of Japanese women through the decades in the 20th century. The design takes a playful approach to the 1970s, the so-called "Me Decade"— as coined by the American author Tom Wolfe in an article of the same name published in New York Magazine in 1976. Perhaps the image of a beauty inserting a contact lens could be read as the epitome of self-reflection, with both the mirror and the lens suggesting her inward gaze.