A dynamic duo, Keiichi Tanaami and Soji Yamakawa create prints/paintings that appear to pulsate with an electric energy not unlike like that of a neon urbanscape. With scenes colliding into one another, the fusion of events appear to combine seamlessly, albeit anonymously, as if they were parts of fluorescent storefront windows blurring into one another. Yet, each of these scenes has been intricately drawn in with the delicacy of premodern prints, clashing with a primitive computer graphic art pixilation. The juxtaposition of such high-energy colors and the deeprooted histories of premodern brushstrokes, fused with primitive graphic print, is what defines the aesthetic of this series of works. Appearing visually hyperactive, what’s actually more astonishing is the real age of the artists.
Keiichi Tanaami was born in 1936 (now 74), and Soji Yamakawa lived between the years of 1908-1992 (86 years). In the time of their collaboration, these two artists have both become recognized as some of Japan’s most exciting producers of artwork. Tanaami has enjoyed a solo show at London’s brightly shining Saatchi Gallery, while Yamakawa had an exhibition as the Sakura City Museum of Art. Termed, “picturesque narrative”, Yamakawa’s style influenced Tanaami’s bold, expressive style in the 1950’s and sparked a desire to create in a highly-satured color palette.
text by Teriha Faye Yaegashi