Saturday, 18 December 2010

Makoto Aida & Chim↑Pom Collective Japan

Makoto Aida is one of Japan's most controversial artists. Having worked in several media, the Tokyo art scene is often interested to see where this man will take his work next. He is often excitingly unpredictable in his direction. Several artistic angles have been covered with an oeuvre that includes manga, video, painting and installation, exerting a huge range of expressive qualities. It is difficult to believe the fact that it could all have been created by a single artist still in a ripe age of 35.

In this show "Otoko no Sake" a fun and playful entrance awaited visitors to this splashy installation; visitors had to climb a three-step ladder, hoist themselves through a hole in the wall and slide down a three-meter-long "tongue" in order to get inside.

Aida is best-known for his disturbing Nihonga paintings of young female amputees, some of them leashed like a dog. He has also exhibited a "Fake Suicide Machine", built a cardboard castle for the Shinjuku homeless, and done a splendid series of mock children’s paintings on themes such as "Save Nature," and "Be Punctual."

A political-activist in college, Aida said he believed that "English-language education was an intrusion by American imperialism," and initially resolved not to learn the language. I leave you with some other amazing famous images of his work.

Chim↑Pom is a group of 6 Japanese artists based in Tokyo, Japan. Known for their use of outlandish, avant-garde art projects, the group met through the controversial Japanese artist Makoto Aida and has become well known since they formed in 2005 as a group that can do anything at any time.

One of their crazy projects: Super Rat is a taxidermically stuffed rat frozen and painted to look like Pikachu. The project was the result of an observation of the rats running around in Shibuya alongside young girls dressed as the rat-like Pokemon.

Further research found that many rats were developing immunities to rat poisons becoming “super rats”. The project was as an expression of what has grown to become a strong integral part of Japanese and worldwide society, created by humans, as expressed in pop culture.

SUPER☆RAT, 2006, courtesy Mujin-to Production, Tokyo. All images © Chim↑Pom.

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