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The BARGAIN: We want to sell our paintings!
Written by Kae ISHII   
Published: October 22 2010

fig. 1 Photo by the author

fig. 2 Photo by the author

fig. 3 Photo by the author

     You will see small pieces of acrylic paintings on the wall on the right as you enter the hall. Most of them are collaborated works of the artists. Although the characters created by Ohashi, Odajima, and Minoura are very unique in their own way, they are strangely harmonious. They look as if they pop out of the canvas and move freely with each other to give you an impression of joy. As my heart went out to wonder how they could paint such unconstrained and comforting pictures, I saw them painting freely on a large canvas on the wall across the hall while listening to some music and chatting with each other.

     The Japan Post Subculture Union (Zenporen) is a group organized to make a special appearance at an event held on August 19, 2010 to commemorate the closing of HMV Shibiya. Daijiro Ohashi was also a member of this group however he did not participate in this exhibition. Zenporen is said to continue their activities while the members change in flux. The setting up of the group of designers, cartoonists and illustrators is in tune with the recent movement characterized by the publishing of "Pop Illustrations in the 1980s" supervised by Hitoshi Odajima in 2009, the feature issue, "The History of Illustration in Japan," in the January 2010 issue of “Bijutsu Techo”, and "Anonymous Pop - Works of Hitoshi Odajina" in 2010.(*1) I think these kinds of self-sustained activities from the artists of the commercial art world indicates that it is time to systematically review the history of graphic design and illustration, which has mostly been neglected so far.(*2) It is possible to see this exhibition from this point of view.

     I saw Mr. Hiroyuki Nisougi(*3) there. Coincidentally he held his exhibition in this gallery in June. He was checking the paintings quietly while he occasionally participated in the conversation among the Zenporen members and the audience (including myself). Before long, he picked up a painting and offered to purchase it. Even though the painting was not a low priced one, it was rather subtle that it did not attract much attention, but the artists had special emotional attachments to the piece. His aesthete and the unexpected offer left people in awe and created some uproar.

     This exhibition as you can infer from the title "The Bargain", released many paintings that have been accumulated. Also the artists continue to draw at the venue, and they are available for a friendly chat with you. This exhibition is so rich in content that it is easy to immerse yourself in the whole atmosphere of the venue but it tends to make you forget about looking at each painting carefully. If you can look carefully, the little pieces which are as if the characters are moving toward each other and you will notice the charm each individual painting exudes and enjoy them more. I recommend you to see them for yourself to find one of your choices like those of Mr. Nisougi.

"Pop illustrations in the 1980s" (editorial supervisor Hitoshi Odajima), Aspect, March 2009.
"The History of Japanese Illustrations : There is an Another Unspoken Art History", Bijutsu Techo, Issue 932, page 7 to 150, January 2010.
"ANONYMOUS POP: Works of Hitoshi Odajima" Blues Interactions, June 2010.

Minoura says, although he is a painter, he knows little people in the art world. He explains that it is because he started his art career late as he had been in musical activities. Minoura adds, Odajima keeps painting enormous amount of pictures that defies the fundamental problem of "Why people paint pictures?" but the only exhibition Odajima went this year was one at a pub. He said he turned his indignation about it into this exhibition.

The solo exhibition by Hiroyuki Nisougi held at this gallery was "Chokusen, copipe, redo, nuri-tsubushi (straight-line, copy and paste, re-do, paint-out)" (http://www.cltvt.org/page/3). To learn more about Nisougi's work, please refer to "日M・Y・U・U・J・I・K・K・U本" (http://myuujikku.blog104.fc2.com/) , or "UNKNOWN POP" (http://unknownpop.com/).

* Translated by Yoshikazu Noda.

Last Updated on October 20 2015

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