After a recent trip to Japan and the Tokyo Museum of Modern Art Dark Art & Craft thought it would be worthwhile to create a piece on the dark artists of 'the land of the rising sun'. Japan, a culturally rich land, is in many ways removed from the western control many other countries succumb too. Because of this difference the art produced is often of the truly original variety. We have chosen a few of our favorite artists to feature in this small exposure.
The Works of Foujita Tauguharu
Foujita was a master Japanese painter and book maker that used western themes and merged them with Japanese style line work. His war paintings are truly unique for the Japanese culture and he dissected World War Two from the Japanese perspective. He stated 'it is impossible for the scene depicted in a war painting to look pretty. In the past, things have been painted too prettily. I think it is acceptable to exaggerate things through subjectivity. Subjectivity should be freely blended into a picture by, for example, making the sea comparatively pretty. And giving the color of the waves a dull, lead like shine.' 1942 skunkan bitjutsu shimpo no 25. Foujita never turned away from the horrors of modern warfare, In fact he dramatized them. The massive collection of his work at the Tokyo Modern Art Museum is engrossing and also the first time all 14 of his war paintings have been shown at once. Foujita can be seen as a forerunner of the trend to take traditional Japanese styles and merge them with modern topics.
Japanese artists rarely fell into the western fascination with mere reproduction, stylization was always honored. It as if the Japanese have always known that the artist stroke and originality is what truly makes Art; not the ability to render a copy of the world.
Modern Japanese Artist Akira Yamaguchi creates works that envision battle scenes where soldiers ride horses with motorcycles for bodies. Yamaguchi's painting style combines contemporary oil painting with the traditional Japanese composition style known as Yamato-e. A smash up the modem and traditional art forms, in this way he creates new worlds.
Makoto Aida is a contemporary Japanese artist known for his provocative works of manga and painting, especially the sexual objectification of Japanese girls. Aida uses the dark sexual side of cartoon to inspire his works.
Japanese artist Takato Yamamoto has a beautiful, yet horrifying take on the ukiyo-e art form. "Night of the Scarlet Moon" is one of his most popular if not a somewhat less creepy version of his dark art. His work takes the traditional Japanese arts to their logical dark extremes. Yamamoto is one of our favorites here at Dark Art & Craft.
Another Dark Art & Craft favorite and an artist with firm sculptural roots, Odani Motohiko has continued to create works of terrifying beauty. His work excites with painful sensation and strong reaction from the viewer. Dark futuristic pieces are Odani's strong suit, never settling with tradition he uses modern materials to create creepy forms and figures.
Read more about art in Japan here https://artinjapan.blogs.ku.dk/2015/08/25/art-and-war/, http://www.kumicontemporary.com/ and http://www.kumicontemporary.com/