Keiichi Tanaami "Kochuten"


poster for Keiichi Tanaami "Kochuten"

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Nanzuka Underground is pleased to present “Kochuten”, a solo exhibition of new works by Keiichi Tanaami. In this exhibition, we show 10 of his new paintings inspired by a Chinese traditional story in the book of the later Han.

Keiichi Tanaami was born in 1936 in Tokyo and graduated from Musashino University of Art. Since the 1960s, he has been the only artist who worked actively as a graphic designer, illustrator and artist, without being limited to one particular medium or genre. While a university student, he became involved with artists such as Ushio Shinohara and Tomio Miki, the leading figures of Neo-Dada Japan. After graduating in the mid 1960s, he became influenced by psychedelic culture and Pop art, and has since been making films, silkscreen prints, paintings and sculptures. His encounter with Andy Warhol in the late 60s, in particular, inspired him to keep working on subversive experiments against the main problems in the contemporary art scene, such as “art and design”, “merchandise and art”, and the “connection between daily life and beauty” up until today.

‘Kochuten’ is the theme for Tanaami’s new works, which are based on an ancient Chinese story. “There is heaven even in a pod”: a phrase which encapsulates the importance of having and deepening one's own utopia, even in this world. Tanaami painted his utopia strongly inspired by this concept, in a world that features the original motifs of various artists that have influenced him, such as Warhol, Lichtenstein, Chirico, Picasso, Escher, Hokusai, Kyosai Kawanabe and Fujio Akatsuka.

These motifs inhabit a mysterious world also populated by Tanaami’s original characters, such as odd looking goldfish, girls and other creatures. Other important elements in Tanaami’s work include beams, explosions and spiral pines, which are associated with his experience of war and disease. Tanaami describes his own experience in WWⅡ this: “I still wonder if it occurred in the real world or not. In my memory, it has been obscure, and the real world and my dream have been mixed.” These new works, however, show his ultimate utopia.



From 2009-11-07 To 2009-12-26

Opening Reception on 2009-11-07 from 18:00 to 20:00


Keiichi Tanaami



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