Keiichi Tanaami + Oliver Payne “Perfect Cherry Blossom”
[Image: Copyright by Keiichi Tanaami, Oliver Payne Courtesy of the artists and NANZUKA]
This event has ended.
The exhibition will feature a series of collaboration works by Keiichi Tanaami and Oliver Payne presented in their 2017 two-person show “Hammer Project: Oliver Payne and Keiichi Tanaami” at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, alongside a selection of new works by each artist.
The collaborative pieces presented on this occasion are based on Payne’s collage works shown at his two-person exhibition with Tanaami in 2011 at the project space Studiolo in Zurich, in which he applied bullet hell stickers inspired by the Japanese video game “DonPachi” onto a series of images of Greek sculpture featured in an old art book. In place of Greek sculptures, for the collaboration Payne meticulously applied bullet hell stickers upon images drawn by Tanaami of humanoid characters reminiscent of monsters or ancient deities. The series can be described as conveying the fusion of Tanaami and Payne’s respective artistic sensibilities, as well as the histories of pop culture into the context of a single fantasy.
As a true fan of Tanaami’s practice, Payne had created this series through means of transforming the logic of fandom (a secondary world created at the hands of fans) into the work itself. The chaotic world of a classic arcade game that extends kaleidoscopically, serves as a curtain encompassing the characters drawn by Tanaami, and at the same time appears to reveal the origins of the artist’s underlying ideas. The eyes of the viewer navigate their way through each image, attempting to decipher the seemingly chaotic array of projectiles, from bullets, bombs, and other forms of ballistic assault. Furthermore, by naturally following a time system that always moves horizontally across the screen from bottom to the top, the viewer recognizes themselves as being caught in Payne’s meticulously orchestrated scheme, in the position of a gamer who identifies with and orients the avatar of the battleship as it battles its way through the sea of carnage.
Hammer Museum curator Aram Moshayedi comments on the work as follows: “In a suite of collages, Payne and Tanaami merge their distinct artistic sensibilities with histories of desire and consumption into a single hallucinatory fantasy. As a progenitor of Japanese Pop art in the late 1960s, Tanaami has been an influential figure in postwar Japan, impacting the ways in which many artists, including Payne, consider their work in relation to forms of popular culture. In particular, Payne focuses on characteristics of video game culture that are analogous to broader social and philosophical concepts. Thus, the collaboration reflects a wider cultural exchange of ideas that Tanaami – as part of an international pop movement – has played an instrumental role in developing.”
The exhibition also features a selection of new works by each artist. Tanaami will present a colored drawing and collage work, while Payne will showcase one of his latest silkscreen works.