Japanese photographer Daikichi Amano creates strangely sexual tableux that bring to life the ancient woodblock tradition of “Shunga” erotica. Vaulting bizarre fetishes to the next level, animals twist into obscure props in some kind of alternate world vision, in which powerful sirens are enveloped by sea creatures and warriors posture. Amano’s White Witch parallel universe is as enchanting as it is macabre. The figures all have a certain allure and potency radiating from them that I can’t explain…. I read somewhere that Amano eats all the animals after the shoots so as to not waste them in a weird, extended, Tantric-magician performative move, perhaps….
I’ve noticed this with many Japanese photographers: the simplicity yet complex compositions, familiar yet abstracted subject matter, and their ability to bring me back to a moment from a movie where I think definitively, “I’ve felt this before”. Photographer Ryo Kawanishi is no exception to this. Looking at his site, I feel almost like I’m listening to a Happy End soundtrack (oh wait, I am) in some Asian suburb. Without really using any mentions of locality in his work, he is able to take me there. He seems to be represented by the webgallery TRYNOME which houses other talents.
Japanese designer, illustrator, painter Aquirax Uno’s work is characterized by fantastic visuals, capricious and sensuous line flow, flamboyant (and occasionally grotesque) eroticism, and frequent use of collage and bright colors. He was prominently involved with the Japanese underground art of 1960′s-1970′s, dabbling in theater, fashion, film and animation. His work reminds me of Aubrey Beardsley’s- morosely sensual women oozing and dripping with the promise of delightful death…I also found a really interesting interview designer Tara Sinn did with the artist himself on her blog.
Yusaku Kamekura (1915-1997) was one of the pioneers of Japanese graphic design who was at the forefront in promoting graphic design as an essential factor of modern society, culture and art, and whose achievements helped to establish the reputation of Japanese graphic design internationally.
The symbol and poster designs for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics were Kamekura’s best-known work. The Tokyo Olympic symbol is a powerful, concise design, while the posters capture the dynamism of athletes. The poster design also incorporated photos, marking the first time that a photograph was used in an Olympic poster. Other well-known poster designs include Hiroshima Appeals, a poetic image of falling, burning butterflies.
The graphically sexual and violent nature of Suehiro Maruo’s illustrations has over the years catapulted him to stardom in the underbelly of Japanese art. There’s quite a few prominent blogs (Baby Art run by Trevor Brown, for example) that revolve around the genre which he is so big in: nightmarish manga (the Japanese term for comic books, meaning literally “whimsical pictures”) fall into the Japanese category of “erotic grotesque”. The stories often take place in the early years of Showa Era Japan. Maruo also has a fascination with human oddities, deformities, birth defects, and “circus freaks.”
Some of the images I’m posting here were from his collaborations with Japanese punk and hardcore records- many having to do with Fascist imagery that we at B/D in no way endorse! Nonetheless the artwork is beautiful. I especially love the line work and color juxtaposition in this cover he did for Funeral Party.
Really clever and adorable (!!) stop motion video about a wolf who wants to eat a pig… the whole thing is constructed of photos in developed film, involving multiple mediums and layers of reality. Kind of meta-meta. Also, last I saw it was in the popular section of saved bookmarks on Delicious!
First saw this video with a couple other shorts at the Redcat in Los Angeles in an event dedicated to new Japanese video art (though the title escapes me). I thought all his work would be similar but it was kind of shocking to see that the rest of them were really different…