The energy of the continuous flow of life in the timeless traces of gyotaku

“While respecting the deep meaning of gyotaku, Elena Di Capita transcends and enriches this traditional Japanese practice.” Marc Porrini - President of Gyotaku Art Europe

Born in Chiavari (Genoa) in 1985, Elena Di Capita’s artistic journey took root in her hometown, where she initially studied art. In 2007 she specialized in Art Restoration and in 2014 she graduated in Archaeological Heritage. For some time she worked as a art restorer in Italy, France and Yemen, and in archaeological missions in Oman and the United Arab Emirates. Her passion for painting, in particular for Japanese art, led her in 2018 to experiment with gyotaku, the art of printing fish, a technique born in Japan two centuries ago, which "transfers reality onto paper". Her works are very successful, she is the first in Italy to specialize in this art and in 2019 she opens her own studio in Lavagna, fully dedicating herself to her artistic career. She also collaborates abroad to spread gyotaku culture, particularly in Turkey and Tanzania. In 2023 she goes to Japan to learn the takuseikai technique from master Matsunaga and also delves into the taku-hon technique.

Her first personal exhibition entitled Sulle orme di Artemisia was in 2019, which was followed by numerous exhibitions in Italy and France. In 2023, during the Genoa Festival della scienza entitled Impronte (Imprints), one of her works was chosen as a symbolic image for the entire communication campaign of the event and she performed gyotaku together with a solo exhibition at the Palazzo Ducale in Genoa. She collaborates with research institutes and NGOs and her works have been used for publications and books covers.

Elena Di Capita works on different types of Japanese paper creating gyotaku mainly using black ink which, in Japan, is the color with which fishermen traditionally printed the image of noteworthy sea life. She also uses the takuseikai technique, in which black is not allowed and colors are blended directly on the fish to honor their natural coloration. The artist respects the Japanese tradition which prohibits retouching on the impression, with the exception of the eyes which are painted. Only for the anchovies does she deviate from the "rule" both by diluting the inks, shading differently to give the idea of ​​depth and moviment, and by adding the cast shadows. This allows us to perceive a sense of depth, strength and incisiveness to her work. In fact, departing from traditional gyotaku which depicts a single fish and focuses on achieving technical perfection, Elena Di Capita composes a multitude of imprints in an original way. She creates works rich in energy and movement with her unmistakable schools of anchovies, a tribute to her homeland, Liguria, which has made her known in Italy and abroad. The artist starts from an ideal capturing of reality and then infuses movement into her images. The composition transports the observer with him and symbolically becomes the representation of energy that pervades existence, the wave that carries life paths, the harmonious rhythm of music. The delicate traces that immortalize the fish are thus charged with great visual power; each anchovy is a director of force that creates the choral movement.

Elena Di Capita is among the very few people in the world who dedicate themselves solely to the gyotaku artistic technique, with an original interpretation of Japanese aesthetics and an essential and timeless language, which tells of humanity in its continuous flow and absolute beauty of imperfection.

Elena Di Capita Artista Gyotaku

2023 Dic, Genova, Palazzo Ducale, with Unige.

Chronos – L’impronta dell’uomo e l’Antropocene in Liguria. Elena Di Capita – Gyotaku, taku-hon e frottage : dal Giappone all’Italia, record grafici per cristallizzare e documentare le superfici.

2023 Nov, Chiavari (GE)

Rassegna Uomini e Navi. « Gyotaku : Di Capita e le acciughe liguri »

2023 Oct, Genova

Festival della scienza : Impronte

Symbol artist of the event. Performance at Palazzo ducale with exposition.

2023, Sep, Tanzania

Exposition of Samaki Art Prject, with UmutSensin at Turkish Embassy in Daar Essalam and in Zanzibar, Emerson on Hurumzi hotel in Stone town.

2023 May, Osaka (Japan)

Study trip to Japan, with Takuseikai Assosiation and Master Masatzu Matzunaga.

2022 Jul, San Ferdinando (RC)

« Un pesce di nome Nando » Exibition and creation of the symbol for the ecological class action.

2022 May, Rennes (France)

Collective exibition at Marc Porrini Atelièr. With Gyotaku art Europe.

2022 Feb, Zanzibar

Samaki Art Project , worshop at Tumbatu Island focusing on teaching gyotaku to local group of women, with ong Umut Sensin (Instabul).

2022 Jan, Siena

« Quel che resta » Exibition at Palazzo Giorgi, curated by Officina Parnaso.

2019 Dic

Dic Studio opening

2019 Chiavari (GE)

Solo exibition « Sulle orme di Artemisia » curated by Cag.


Beginning of Gyotaku activity


Work as a restorer of Cultural Heritages in Italy and Abroad

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