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Tetsuya Chida
Written by Satoshi KOGANEZAWA   
Published: January 04 2009

fig. 2 "Immigrant"; acrylic canvas, 53×45.5cm copy right(c) Tetsuya CHIDA

fig. 1 "DET"; acrylic canvas, 53×45.5cm copy right(c) Tetsuya CHIDA

     In the pink background in which the brush-stroke remind us of an astract painting, two girls are drawn wearing bloomers and gym suits, and there is also a girl wearing the same bloomers and a scanty top like a bra. However, strangely enough, their faces are not drawn as faces. Something like an old-fashioned huge PC display occupies the head of the girl in the center; the face of the girl who sits on a chair on the right side holding her knee in a languid manner seems like a clone in the Star Wars movie series. The heavy leaden color of the face of the girl holding a square timber high up with her left hand suggests steel, and I don't know what it was, but it is clear that did not belong to a normal human being.

     A signboard showing the above painting, "DET"[fig. 1], was placed in the Gallery entrance. I entered there without knowing who Tetsuya Chida, the artist, was. I descended to the underground gallery, then found the F10-sized "Immigration" (45.5 x 53cm) on the right side. This darkly colored canvas has been divided into two areas, heath and sky, and a women wearing a black one-piece dress again covering her face with an unusual thing has been drawn in the center. In the first painting, the faces have been covered with inhuman images, however in this work, there is a feeling of coquetry about the people portrayed, maybe due to the colors used, mainly warm ones, which create an atmosphere that is utterly different to the first painting.

fig. 4 at the exhibition site copy right(c) Tetsuya CHIDA

fig. 3 at the exhibition site copy right(c) Tetsuya CHIDA

     The artworks that are most similar to his are those by Francis Bacon (1909-1992). Only looking at his "Immigration"[fig. 2], it is not difficult to find the influence of Bacon, such as partly distorted, intensively disfigured faces. Nevertheless, his other artworks show the defining difference. Bacon drew faces, no matter how intensively deformed; on the other hand, Chida has drawn something which is not a face even though it undoubtedly started as a face. I would like to call it a "mask". Let us look at the F120-sized "Woman in Fireland"[fig. 5](194.0cm x 130.3cm), the largest in the fourteen exhibitions. The face of a casually dressed woman filling the green canvas is not distorted, but is a bronzed mask as if made of ceramic. A round dimple in the center looks like an eye, and below that there seems to be a jaw, clenching its teeth. Moreover, what a woman in "She calls papa"[fig. 6] wears is a near-future mask like that worn by the girl in "DET".

fig. 6 "She calls papa"; acrylic canvas, 53×45.5cm copy right(c) Tetsuya CHIDA

fig. 5 "Hinokuni no onna"; acrylic canvas, 193.9×130.3cm copy right(c) Tetsuya CHIDA

     What was interesting, as I looked around the venue was that the motifs he used were mainly women. Apart from "Reincarnation"[fig. 7], the motif of which was easily identified as a man due to the solidly built body wearing a rider's jacket, those drawn in the artworks where we could find masks were basically women. Why women? His intention was most clearly demonstrated by "ROPE"[fig. 8]. The mask worn by a fashion-conscious woman wearing a one-piece dress and a jacket was several times larger than her original face size, with spines in several places and wheels on both sides. I would like to draw attention to the fact she is facing the front without movement, despite the red ropes at her feet which are desperately pulled by twelve men. All the men have the same shape, so they might be the same person. Probably they represent men in general. This explains not only "ROPE" but also how all the exhibition expresses the uncertainty of females from the male point of view. That is an absolutely masculine, one-sided viewpoint, however, he tries to caricature women by changing the head of his motif in fashion magazines with an abnormal mask.

fig. 8 "ROPE"; acrylic canvas, 130.3×130.3cm copy right(c) Tetsuya CHIDA

fig. 7 "Rinne"; acrylic canvas, 53×45.5cm copy right(c) Tetsuya CHIDA

     For example, in "She calls papa", it is obvious from the title that she is making a phone call to her "papa" - not her blood-related father but a money-related one - and the mask is effective enough to give her an obscure atmosphere without such a title. Or a smiling woman wearing a swimming suit and posing sexily in "Wharf rat"[fig. 9] is in the dark, her feet below the knees are soaking in the dirty water. The theme of the female from a male point of view might be strongly disapproved of by feminists. "ROPE", "She calls papa." and "Wharf rat", deserve criticism for treating women as merchandise. However, the masculinity in his artworks is not always the feudalistic machismo of seeing women as the object of desire. He expresses strong, tough women and shameless men in general, including himself. Born in 1982, the same year as him, I have a great deal of empathy for the contemporaneousness of his artworks. Of course his characteristic is not only irony. First and foremost, it is the technique of creating a picture and fixing his image on the canvas no matter how foolish it might be, and it is absolutely clear from his artworks that he has mastered the technique. He also creates videos, and it is interesting to see how the videos are sometimes connected with his paintings. Lastly, his three black-and-white pen drawings are less impressive than the above acrylic paintings.
(Translated by Chisato Kushida)

fig. 9 "wharf rat (I want to be beautiful as a wharf rat"; acrylic canvas, 53×45.5cm copy right(c) Tetsuya CHIDA


展覧会名: Tetsuya CHIDA
会期: 15/Dec/2008 - 20/Dec/2008

Last Updated on October 27 2015

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