‘Cute Tunes for Serious Sapiens’, currently on display at the Miami based Ascaso Gallery, features the works of four artists, namely Javier Martin, Masako Miki, Noritoshi Mitsuuchi and Takeru Amano. Themed on the exploration of their ‘inner child’, the exhibits at the gallery transcend the boundaries denominated to design and creation. “The strength of this show is precisely that—the way it taps into childhood memories of unfettered creativity,” says Barbara Pollack, curator of the exhibition.
All the showcases at the gallery are attempts at escaping the confines that are defined by art education and the hierarchies laid down in the history of art. But instead of completely divorcing themselves from the conventional space, the art installations serve as a bridge, or rather, a fusion of popular and niche, eccentric and accessible. The pieces displayed in the exhibition appear to stand in thematic conjunction to each other, owing to the similar references and inspirations that have influenced their creation. All four artists have produced work that is heavily influenced by the anime and mangas birthed in Japan. While drawing from this common theme accredits their work some semblance of similarity, it is their own interpretation and response to the theme that sets apart each piece showcased in the spaces of the American gallery.
Takeru Amano, a Japanese artist, blends pop culture and classicism using Takashi Murakami’s definitive Superflat style to depict women from western art history, while Noritoshi Mitsuuchi’s works resemble children’s drawings. His creations feature a blend of pop and classic, which induces nostalgia. Masako Miki, on the other hand, creates 3-D objects that employ the folklore creatures of Shintoism that ascribe to the acceptance of non-binary and transitory beings in today’s day and age. Multidisciplinary Spanish artist, Javier Martin, also explores similar themes with his ‘Blindness’ portraits that combine paint, printmaking and neon. The flashy aesthetic of his pieces are metaphors of the delusion that infests mass culture.
Together, the installations of the four artists fill the spaces of the gallery with a potpourri of colours that, at first glance, serve as reminders of kindergarten classrooms and playgrounds. However, on closer inspection, the deeper symbolism and inspirations behind the pieces can clearly be seen. They bring to notice the narcissism that plagues society, while also highlighting how individuality and idiosyncrasy is shrinking from artistic spaces. In doing so, they stand tall with their originality and eccentricity against a contemporary world.
The exhibition ‘Cute Tunes for Serious Sapiens’ will remain on display from February 24, 2022 to April 28, 2022 at the Ascaso Gallery in Miami, Florida, USA.