“No posing.” The artist, Beat Takeshi Kitano told at the press conference in the video, expressing his attitude toward this exhibition. If you read the following report, you will see what he meant.
Beat Takeshi Kitano is now known as a filmmaker and?an artist, but was originally famous as a comedian in Japan. His black and satirical jokes took the world by storm. I found this comedic essence of his here and there in the exhibition.
This event originally opened at Foundation Cartier pour l’art in Paris 2 years ago. It was a big hit and extended its period?by?6 months. Vibrant and freewheeling creations appealed to?many fastidious/picky Parisians. Even children went?crazy over it. Actually, if anything, it’s rather children who take in the exhibit’s real value, and not?adults who are set in their ways on the “meaning” of art.
I think “relaxing” is something we forget to do?when we encounter?artworks as we grow older. Even the artist himself isn’t?posing. Let’s try not to think about everything in such a difficult manner. If you clear unnecessary knowledge out of your head, I’m sure Kitano’s?works will allow you to see things through the?pure eyes of a child.
When you enter the exhibit space, this startling work is the first one that welcomes you. This is a?self-sculpture of the artist. In his hand, he holds?his own brain! Wow! The caption?accompanying it says, “Who are You Who is Looking at Me?!”
It’s asking the audience:?”what do you think the brain sees?” It’s a lot of?fun imagining this kind of impossible and surrealistic situations.
Look at the picture above! What a strange creature it is! It has a hippo’s head and a?fish’s body. Other than this, there were elephant-goldfish, rhinoceros- goldfish?, giraffe-hair tail and so on. They were all so funny and reminded me of pictures drawn by children. Usually, adults can never draw that freely. But surprisingly, Beat Takeshi Kitano can.
Beat Takeshi Kitano started painting as rehabilitation since he had a motorcycle accident in 1994. The artist explains?that the vibrant color of his works are influenced by his father’s occupation – house painter. The title of this exhibition “Gosse de peintre” can also mean “house painter’s son”, in addition to its more familiar meaning “little rascal painter.” His unintentional and simple pictures seemed to be full of pure joy towards painting.
This is another?piece that shows the artist’s?child-like sense — Flower head in an animal-body vase (A vase shaped like an animal’s body with a flower for its head). It is interesting that gradually it really?starts to look like that animal. Don’t you think so?
This is just like an amusement park! A?locomotive, dinosaur, roller coaster rail… His wide interests are shown here and there. Some works come from his comedian origin, humorously black and surrealistic. Others are based on?his interest in science.
This work shows his sense as a comedian. Plates around the dinosaur explain?the “true” reason why dinosaurs became extinct–?they suffered from?”metabolic syndrome”, as?shown in a?picture of a?dinosaur having beer and pizza, or in another picture depicting a dinosaur?”always losing in rock-paper-scissors because of its <scissor-shaped hands>”. All of the scenarios?are so surreal and funny that I couldn’t repress laughter.
After having fun in the amusement space, drawings on Japanese traditional paper, Gampi-paper led to the exit.
After the exhibition, there is one more fun to have. It’s Buddha Waffle!
In Buddhism, there is one old story: One day, a mother tiger was so hungry that she?tried to eat her own child. Then Buddha accidentally passed by and knew?what was going on. Feeling sad, he served himself to the mother tiger and saved the?child tiger’s life.
It’s indeed a?moving story, but the artist realized that there’s no one on earth who actually saw this scene….
It was as if?he was suggesting: “Eat Buddha before you get hungry!” Thanks to Buddha, we don’t have to be like the mother tiger…. What black humor!
Beat Takeshi Kitano says, “(just) Look. Enjoy.”? I?feel like?this word symbolizes this exhibition. His words and works reminded me of the?pure attitude toward what?”I”?think is interesting.? It should basically NOT matter if people say it’s art or not. If I felt?pleased and had fun, then this exhibition was certainly valuable for me.
The artist also says that he hopes to give a different interpretation toward art through this exhibition. That is, not fixed, not just for special people. Art is open to everyone and is?supposed to be free.
It’s of course helpful to know art history and be a critic when we see artworks. But sometimes, I think we can be free from common sense and rules. When we get in touch with art in that way, we may be able to discover something new.
text by Yoshiko Anetai
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Place: Toyko Opera City Art Gallery
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