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Feel the rhythm, Color me bright, Everyday is a carnival
Written by Maho TANAKA   
Published: August 30 2011

[fig.1] View from the exhibition, photo by Ken KATO

[fig.2] Takafumi Yag, "toreador", 2011
55 x 55 x 55 cm
Colored pencil, resin
Photo by Ken KATO
Courtesy of the artist and YUKA CONTEMPORARY

[fig.3] Yu Yasuda, "Landmark", 2011
41 x 27.3 cm
Oil on canvas
Courtesy of the artist and YUKA CONTEMPORARY

[fig.4] Maiko Kasai, "go further away", 2011
145.5 x 112 cm
Oil on canvas
Courtesy of the artist and YUKA CONTEMPORARY

[fig.5] assume vivid astro focus, "Butch Queen"
Courtesy of hiromiyoshii
Courtesy of the artist and hiromiyoshii

The images we have with a word “carnival” are, as told in the title of this exhibition, colorful festive decorations and enthusiasm of vibrant people. In this exhibition, two dimensional works of Nobuyuki Yasuda, abstract paintings of Yu Yasuda and Maiko Kasai, sculptures of Takashi Yagi, and a variety of expressions from four young artists are exhibited. Also hi-fi colored print works created by a group of artists from overseas called “Assume Vivid Astro Focus (AVAF)” add color to this exhibition (figure 1). The pop colors works create a glittering and pleasant atmosphere. Are they trying to comfort and encourage us who are filled with a sense of stagnation in this time?

Tigers and pandas in Nobuyuki Okano's paintings remind me of the silk screen work “Endangered Species” created by Warhol. Warhol expressed his message regarding environmental protection by the contrasts of ornate but fascinating colors. Likewise, Okano's animals evoke something aggressive rather than just the air of lovely entities. Skillfully used masking tape and spray create op art like swells such that viewer can't focus one's viewpoint to recognize the outline clearly of the animals drawn in the work. This swell and bright fluorescent color contrast evokes the vitality of the animals, but at the same time evokes the danger of the survival of the species and the transience of life(*1).

Colors in the work of Takashi Yagi are the colors of colored pencils. However they are not drawn by using them, but created using colored pencil leads themselves. He bundled colored pencils and glued them together with resin. Then he carved out a chandelier out of the bundle so the colorful leads of pencils show up here and there in lines and dots (figure 2). Each pure color resonates with other colors and glitters as if natural light reproduced in oil paintings, with divided brush strokes or stippling method, are replaced with pop neon signs. Then it made me realize that the colorful light emitting sources were leads of pencils as the material for this chandelier was not light glass but was pencil wood. It shows an effect similar to representation of light in paintings. I think it is trying to keep the form, which tends to be lost in the reproduction of light in paintings, by using the method of three dimensional object.

On the other hand, Yu Yasuda drew oil painting in exquisite colors that blend in as if they avoid contrasting between specific colors and complementary colors. Mixing paints by blurring, this painting is vibrant in places but suppressed as it is mostly grayish as a whole. It bears a fantastical space with a floating feeling. Natural landscape, people and patterns fade in and out in the swirl of colors. It has a mysterious depth with a mixture of opaqueness, reflection and transparency as if the reflection on the surface of the lake in Water Lilies, which Monet painted in 1920, was cut out and expanded. Just like her “land mark” (figure 3) is symbolized by the lack of rose red color even though it is in the motif of roses, Yasuda's works create unique world beyond our everyday life.

The girl which Maiko Kasai drew also seems to reside in an uncommon world at a first glance (figure 4). Leaving white margin in the background, the girl drawn in bold brush strokes runs lightly swaying her hair in the wind. She looks like she is on a playground equipment which appears to be a flying trapeze or a carousel horse. While the girl's expression can't be seen as it is covered with wisps, her legs are oddly exposed. She looks like she is enjoying the speed but at the same time frightened by the acceleration. Although amusement parks are the place to escape from everyday living, carousel horses with vacant smile have a disquietness as if it snatches her away to uncommon world. It looks as if it is running away but playground equipments continues to rotate in the same place. They look as if they go back and forth between everyday life and uncommon world.

The only foreign guest “Assume Vivid Astro Focus (AVAF)” is a group of artists from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil lead by Eli Sudbrack. Colors of the work are scrambled, and have various motifs scattered like a collage (figure 5). As it was not created by single artist, the screen is crowded with miscellaneous images. There is no commonality in motifs nor unity in shapes. This work exudes bustle of festivals from the entire screen. Just like each artist is developing relationships with other artists while they are having fun creating it, each motif lives independently but it also connects organically with other motifs. It may be portraying intrinsic coexistence. The “carnival” of works in this exhibition is not just a glittering transient distraction. The lifted up feeling of festival is created because uncommonness, life's dynamism and sense of openness are inextricably linked with everyday living, death and anxiety. The last phrase of the title of this exhibition is “Everyday is a carnival.” As extraordinary news have become ordinary these days, I am living everyday in stupefied feeling. However, I realized that ordinary life is such a blessing after I touched this “Carnival.”
(Translated by Yoshikazu Noda)


*1: Among Okano's paintings of animals created with masking tape, fluorescent colors are not always used. Also, while using the masking tape and spray as well, there are paintings and three dimensional works that seem to be created in the theme of erotic images of women in this exhibition.

Referred exhibition:

"Feel the rhythm, Color me bright, Everyday is a carnival"
Period: Saturday, July 2 - Saturday, August 6, 2011

Last Updated on September 19 2011

Editor's Note by Maho TANAKA

Courtesy of the artist and YUKA CONTEMPORARY

It is an exhibition that excites me with the power of colorful and pop expression by young artists, as like looking at the set of new paint tubes. All the members; Yu Yasuda, Takafumi Yagi, Maiko Kasai, Nobuyuki Okano, and Assume Vivid Astro Focus, introduce the latest work, in which we can see their new development.

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