Japanese sexy manga art set to wow Lyon

28th September 2006, Comments 0 comments

LYON, France, Oct 2, 2006 (AFP) - Three proponents of Superflat — a pop-art style created by Takashi Murakami, dubbed Japan's Andy Warhol — have brought their unique brand of post-modernism to France with a new exhibition mixing manga inspiration with provocative eroticism.

LYON, France, Oct 2, 2006 (AFP) - Three proponents of Superflat — a pop-art style created by Takashi Murakami, dubbed Japan's Andy Warhol — have brought their unique brand of post-modernism to France with a new exhibition mixing manga inspiration with provocative eroticism.

*sidebar1*Chiho Aoshima, Aya Takano and a colleague who goes only by the moniker "Mister" are showing their eclectic sculptures, animations and sketches in the Contemporary Art Museum in Lyon, eastern France, in a display that runs to the end of the year.

Their works are the result of Kaikai Kiki LLC, an art production and management organisation founded by Murakami to develop his art and promote that of other Japanese post-modernists.

"Compared to those of my generation, the artists on show here are much freer than I was. I had to fight through barriers and obstacles because I never had the same relationship with the West," said Murakami, 43, as he presented the exhibition ahead of its opening last weekend.

Prolific and distinctive, Murakami's art has surfed on the growing worldwide interest in works that take almost childishly simple iconography and wrap it in ironic stabs at consumerism, sex and society.

His most famous works feature almost nude cartoon-like figures engaged in acts that would be bordering on the obscene if it weren't for their flourish and the interpretations they provoke.

He has also ladled irony upon irony by designing with Marc Jacobs a multi-coloured handbag for the French luxury goods retailer Louis Vuitton that fetches thousands of dollars.

Murakami's three assistants showing in France are furthering his school with their works.

Takano, 30, has set out cartoon images of impossibly idealised young women — a standard set in Japan's 'manga' comic magazines — who are deployed in erotic poses, some of them explicit.

They are strongly reminiscent of a tradition known as "shunga," which resembles Chinese erotic sketches from the 14th to 16th centuries that influenced later Japanese artists.

"My designs aim to reconcile traditional hand-drawn art with modern imagery," she said. "The challenge for me is to say that this is Japan today."

"Mister" dominates the next room in the museum with his own images and sculptures which are direct descendants of the manga style, replete with characters with huge eyes in which can be seen incredibly detailed miniatures.

"I draw, or I sculpt, mainly children, and the different scenes that can be seen here in their eyes symbolise hope," he said.

The last room, given over to Aoshima's works, has its walls and floor covered by an enormous wallpaper fresco.

Dotted around the room are five synchronised plasma screens playing an animation called "City Glow" in which an empty bucolic landscape is gradually transformed into a cemetery filled with zombies.

Apocalyptic, perhaps, but not meant to be pessimistic, the artist said.

"I feel better when I'm in nature and that's why there often aren't people in my works," she said.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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