Hernan Bas “Insects from Abroad”

Gallery Perrotin Tokyo

poster for Hernan Bas “Insects from Abroad”

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“Insects from Abroad” exhibits Bas’s newly-created series of paintings and drawings inspired by “Insects Abroad: Being a popular account of foreign insects, their structure, habits, and transformations,” an entomology book published in 1874. Bas found the extensive poetics used to describe insects compelling as an approach to the visual representation of the Dandy, a figure which came to prominence in Europe during the same time in the nineteenth century. There the Dandy was a foppish effeminate male, excessively conscious of fashion (some even resorted to using a corset to reform their bodies.)
By contrast, in Japan the figure of the “Dandy” has a different and more recent history, referring to restrained but sophisticated stylish men, traditionally called “Date-Otoko,” although this figure is undeniably masculine. A closer contemporary comparison can be made to those who identify with “Visual Kei,” a specific musical subculture whose members are similarly concerned with altering their appearance through fashion and makeup. (However, there is no exact equivalent in Japan to the European Dandy.)
In nineteenth-century Europe, Dandies were ridiculed and, according to Bas, they were described as if they were insects, often depicted as “’monstrosities,’ [given] the appearance of some otherworldly species completely separate from ‘common decent society.’” Thus, he has taken the poetic framing of the scientific text, which renders the otherwise abject insects accessible, as an inspiration to develop complex visual descriptions to similarly portray his male figures as approachable, if not attractive.

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Schedule

from January 18, 2018 to March 11, 2018

Opening Reception on 2018-01-18 from 17:00 to 19:00

Artist(s)

Hernan Bas

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