Before photography became a relatively affordable pastime at the beginning of the 20th century, lithographic prints were touted as the democratic image-making medium that could reach all classes of society. At the same time, because the design was drawn directly onto stone, it could be used as a platform for artistic expression; not just a cheap way of reproducing images, but creating multiple versions of an original work. This potential was most eagerly embraced in France, with Picasso, Braque and Matisse creating “masterpieces” that could be owned or collected by more than one person at a time. A revolutionary idea, but also good business.

“Listen, I’ll Tell You The Truth …The Actual Center of The World is Where You Are Creating Something Unique,” at Tokyo Station Gallery, is a group exhibition of prints from the venerable Idem lithographic workshop in Paris, which occupies a building of lithographic presses that was originally established in 1881. The title comes from the recently published novel “Romancier” (“Novelist”) by Maha Harada, which features the Idem workshop and a fictional exhibition of lithographic prints at, as you may have guessed, the Tokyo Station Gallery.

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