Paul Binnie, Scottish, b. 1967
Flowers of a Hundred Years: Cell Phone [of 1980]
the series title Hyakunen no Hana and print title, 1980 Nen no Keitai Denwa in karazuri ('blind-printing') on upper left margin, signed in kanji, Bin-ni at upper left followed by red artist's seal Binnie, with karazuri BINNIE at the center of the bottom margin, and numbered and signed in pencil, Paul Binnie, 2018
dai oban tate-e 18 1/2 by 13 1/8 in., 47 by 33.3 cm
This is the ninth design issued in Binnie's Flowers of a Hundred Years series, which is projected to include twelve designs in total. The series explores the lives of Japanese women through the decades in the 20th century. For the 1980s, Binnie offers us portrait of a professional woman hoisting her brick of a cell phone against a backdrop of the Tokyo skyline in silhouette. The prominent antenna on the phone mirrors the antenna of Tokyo Tower piercing the blue bokashi sky. She confidently meets our gaze wearing a wide-collared white shirt, a contrasting red scarf embellished a pattern of yellow and silver mica ovals, and a suit jacket with padded shoulders in a spot 'on-trend' hue of purple. Binnie's initial 'B' are printed in gold upside down on two buttons at her jacket's cuff.
While the 1980s lacks universal moniker (although 'Egregious Eighties' has a nice ring to it, no pun intended), one could arguably make the case that the decadence and excess of the booming world market was amplified in Japan, and perhaps nowhere more intensely than in Tokyo, where the post-war economic 'miracle' was fueling what would later be recognized as a bubble economy. Binnie characterizes his model as an executive who has risen to an important position within her profession. Her brash display of success and apparent wealth are symbolic of the new opportunities for women to achieve higher rungs on the corporate ladder, for only an individual with a great deal of responsibility would actually need to be available at a moment's notice. Imagine that.
(Hyakunen no Hana: 1980 Nen no Keitai Denwa)