Here’s part two of my stay in Tokyo. Check out my previous post for pictures of Ueno, Akihabara and Tsukiji. I’m not going to repeat myself, so check out that post if you’re interested in my itinerary and hotel details. Now onto the pictures…
It took a long time but I finally managed to take my dream trip to Japan. It was twenty-one days in three cities, sweltering heat and with one jam-packed itinerary. That’s a slight exaggeration, I left carefully scheduled blocks of time free for “spontaneity”. It was amazing and exhausting. But perhaps the best thing were those little moments you can’t take pictures of. Chatting to salarymen over shochu, or soaking in the best bath of my life. I can’t wait to go again.
This is my second post featuring graffiti by Hush. While Hush’s earlier works focused on imagery of girls from anime and manga, this image has been superseded in his later work by the image of the geisha. Like the anime girl, the geisha is an ideal; the mythical epitome of “oriental beauty” which exists only in the Western imagination.
Hush’s technique has also progressed. While his work still retains the detail and complexity of his collage-like images, his newer work is more painterly. Spray-painted tags are layered against traditional Japanese textile patterns, while a color palette of rich vermilion, turquoise and gold reflects the sumptuousness of embroidered silk.
Check out my earlier post: Graffiti by Hush: Doe-eyed Anime Girls
Hush‘s work seems more like collage than conventional graffiti. Appropiated images are densely layered so that doe-eyed anime girls mix with Grecian sculpture and seemingly random images. Typography also has a strong presence in the form of comic books sound effects, Japanese kanji and calligraphic tags. The result are richly layered works which frame his anime heroines within the larger history of art and popular culture, blurring the lines between the artistic and the pornographic.
Massive structures and piles of wreckage are the subject of Ikeda Manabu‘s work. His monumental images are filled with an incredible detail. The spires of a church and the slides of a waterpark alike are buried the debris of an overgrown civilization. It’s a dystopia reflecting the spectacle and excess of our own contemporary society.
The work of Sashie Masakatsu presents surreal images of spherical cities, which float planet-like over an urban wasteland. Architectural details make these spheres recognizably Japanese, a metaphor for Tokyo itself, the largest metropolitan area in the world. But Tokyo also represents the ideal of a utopian metropolis, a failed dream replaced by social isolation and environmental degradation.
This is second post featuring the work of the legendary polka-dot princess Yoyoi Kusama. While my previous post focused on her paintings this post features on her three-dimensional work: sculpture and installation. Yet there’s a wonderful harmony between Kuama’s painting and sculpture, it’s almost as if the decorative dots and lines of her painted work have expanded in her installations to create small universes of their own.