Forsaking Pop: A New Art Generation From Japan

When 16 Jul 2018 - 24 Jul 2018
Where WhiteBox
329 Broome Street (Between Bowery and Chrystie)
New York, NY 10002
United States
Enquiry 212-714-2347

Opening Reception: Tuesday, July 17 @ 6 – 8 PM

Exhibition: July 16 – July 24, 2018

The Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 struck the hearts of many young Japanese artists, numbing them and causing some to lose their passion for creating new work, while others put into question the very nature of their artistic endeavors. Confronted with a cataclysm of vast, capricious natural energy outflow, these artists saw the sudden destruction of tremendous amounts of their carefully constructed artistic worlds achieved through enormous amounts of time and constant effort. Only those who experience such a disaster can understand the fragility of man-made creations.

In response, the seven Japanese artists in this exhibition, re-evaluated their roles as representatives of one of Japan’s new artistic legacies. How can Japanese culture, once again, be enriched and reshaped in ways only artists can fathom? These questions gave rise to the theme of Forsaking Pop: A New Art Generation from Japan.

Then, they asked themselves what truly reflective works—as artists born and raised in Japan—should present at this particular junction in New York, a pinnacle international art center. All seven participants agreed to relinquish the mainstream influences of Japanese Pop Art in their works, which most Westerners have come to regard, for good or for bad, as a core visual marker of contemporary Japanese culture. In the first decade of the 21st century, Takashi Murakami and Yoshitomo Nara elevated Manga and Anime subcultures to high-art, calling these works “Super Flat.” Thus, as a refutation, these seven artists have positioned their styles in diametric opposition to such art, instead creating works that are multifarious, independent minded, fresh, different, and above all free from the traditional influences of Japanese arts and crafts, as well as the overused clichéd vocabulary of Pop Art.

Today, the meaning in art and authorship have continuously been skewed with the advent of the communicative speed and exacting accuracy of social media, which makes it possible to disseminate large amounts of visual information in an instant. As such, any newly-created artwork can be easily imitated right away, making it scarcely possible to preserve the work’s originality. Therefore, in order to create something inimitable, artists must create, develop and maintain increasingly elaborated techniques leaning on their personal philosophies. These new-generation Japanese artists respond to such parameters with a new commitment to personal aesthetic devices, abandoning obvious Western values by focusing on a newfound Japanese sense of authenticity.

The seven artists in this exhibition share these common values; 1. They create works by processing materials in simple ways, favoring a rustic taste, rich evidence of touch and obscureness in the works, totally eliminating distinctly Japanese way, creating a very particular, universally appealing aesthetic. All artists in the show share many of these characteristics, and in unison, they are trying to move beyond the stereotypes found in Japanese Pop art.

Photo courtesy of the organizer/s.

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