Title: Shapeshifting Comparison Kidomaru (Aladdin Sane)
Artistic Director: Yuka Mitsui
Illustrator: Masumi Ishikawa
Wood Carver: Nami Sato
Printer: Makoto Nakayama
Edition: 94/ 200
Size: 48 x 34 cm
David Bowie’s interest in Japanese culture began in the 1970s when he worked with fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto to create ensembles for his colourful alter-ego, Ziggy Stardust. Soon after, he took an interest in Kabuki theatre and was heavily influenced by the exaggerated gestures, costumes and make-up. He also worked with actor Bando Tamasaburo who taught Bowie how to apply traditional kabuki makeup, which led to the entertainer’s iconic lightning bolt look.
Taking this fascination full-circle, this print was inspired by one of Bowie’s most famous photographs and album cover for ‘Alladin Sane’ (1973) done by Brian Duffy. In here, David Bowie is reimagined a Japanese snake taming sorcerer from the Kamakura period, often featured as the subject of ukiyo-e. This artwork portrays a contrast between savage Kidomaru managing a snake and Bowie glowing with subtle and mystic power.
Bowie’s pose in this print is based on an original design by Kuniyoshi Utagawa, in which the bandit sorcerer Kidomaru is instructed by the Tengu on how to use sorcery.