from JaPigozzi Collection

Mysterious Deliverance (2010) by Keiichi TanaamiJaPigozzi Collection

The JaPigozzi Collection takes as its starting point the legendary artists Keiichi Tanaami (b.1936) and Nobuyoshi Araki (b.1940), both of whom are well-represented within the collection. The influence of these pioneering names - both rising to fame between the 1960s and the 1980s - is crucial, and studying their work is a useful way to better understand what a generation of younger artists are creating now.

Tokyo Cube 5 (1994) by Nobuyoshi ArakiJaPigozzi Collection

In Araki’s work, we see motifs from the traditional Japanese erotic Shunga prints reinterpreted into contemporary domestic spaces, in compositions that are both provocative and intimate. In the case of Tanaami, his extraordinary palette, pop aesthetic, dark undertones and metamorphic figures had a lasting impact on emerging Japanese artists.

Personal Sentimentalism in Photography (2000) by Nobuyoshi ArakiJaPigozzi Collection

Many younger artists in the Japigozzi Collection pay homage to or reference Tanaami and Araki.

Noir (2010) by MIka NinagawaJaPigozzi Collection

Notably, two Japanese photographers, Mika Ninagawa (b.1972) and Tomoko Sawada (b.1977), were inspired directly by Nobuyoshi Araki’s photographic journals.

Masquerade (2010) by Tomoko SawadaJaPigozzi Collection

Ninagawa and Sawada rose to prominence in Japan in the 1990s, their work showcasing direct and spontaneous images of empowered women. In doing so, they also shed light on their own daily life.

Ucyuu Dora Image (2006) by Erina MatsuiJaPigozzi Collection

Erina Matsui (b.1984) and Yuko Akasu (b.1980) are two painters who developed their own very personal artistic style in the 2000s, which encompasses an alternative vision of reality.

Pui Pui Pui (2004) by Yuko AkasuJaPigozzi Collection

Using bright colours, naïve subjects and over-sized dimensions, they create canvases populated by fantastic creatures. Many of these creatures are directly inspired by the aesthetics of manga and anime (Japanese comics and animation).

For Emergence (2007) by Kaori KobayashiJaPigozzi Collection

Kaori Kobayashi (b.1986) and Toshiyuki Konishi (b.1980) also work in the realm of fantasy, introducing dark undertones to their work. In Kobayashi’s delicate paintings, the melancholic characters seem to be frozen in the moment, or waiting for an important event that is about to take place.

Untitled (2010) by Toshiyuki KonishiJaPigozzi Collection

Konishi on the other hand depicts portraits that are inspired from family photographs. He alters the individuals’ features with dynamic brushstrokes, gives them red eyes and grey or purple skin. This makes it impossible to identify the sitters’ gender or race.

Untitled (2010) by Toshiyuki KonishiJaPigozzi Collection

Both Kobayashi and Konishi represent scenes that are suspended in time, challenging the viewers to question what exactly is happening before them.

PixCell-Toy-Kewpie #3 (2008) by Kohei NawaJaPigozzi Collection

Characters undergoing a transformation is a central theme in the JaPigozzi collection. A perfect example of this is Kohei Nawa (b.1975), a multidisciplinary artist best known for his sculptures. He represents animals or objects covered in tiny glass spheres, thus disintegrating the subject’s original form. These sculptures are designed digitally before they are produced in reality. Nawa coined his own term for this technique, PixCell, the union of the words pixel and cell, which suggests a hybrid of biological and technological elements.

The way to be a tree (2009) by Akira IkezoeJaPigozzi Collection

Akira Ikezoe (b.1979), together with many other artists in the JaPigozzi Collection, is interested in the process of metamorphosis. In his humorous paintings he investigates the complex relationships between man and nature. Ikezoe’s figures are represented in the process of transforming into something else, often mixing their human features with flora, demonstrating the artist’s profound interest in the natural word.

Lotus (2009) by Akira IkezoeJaPigozzi Collection

Looking at Japanese culture from a general perspective, it can be noticed that images of flora and elements from the natural kingdom recur in different artistic fields throughout the centuries. These components hold a symbolism that is constantly referred to in classical arts, such as poetry, painting, literature, and so on. Ikebana (the art of flower arrangement), is an important art form in Japan.

Sunflower - iv - bc (2008) by Macoto MurayamaJaPigozzi Collection

In contemporary art, these elements seem to have endured and recur in the work of various artists, often fused with the idea of still-lifes in the European tradition of painting. Flowers are the central element in the work of Macoto Murayama (b.1984), an artist who is very well represented in the collection.

Chrysanthemum- v - bc (2008) by Macoto MurayamaJaPigozzi Collection

Murayama uses digital technology and a deep knowledge of biology to shape his images, which evoke diagrams taken from a botanical manual, or plants seen through the lens of a microscope.

Sea Gate (2010) by Hiroki TsukudaJaPigozzi Collection

Another important theme in the works represented in the JaPigozzi Collection is urban landscape and contemporary architecture. Hiroki Tsukuda (b.1978) has developed a very personal take on this topic, with his tangled, black and white structures.

Matrix 01 (2009) by Tatsuya MatsushitaJaPigozzi Collection

Tatsuya Matsushita (b.1982) depicts chaotic accumulations of objects from the consumerist culture in his collages, which, similarly to advertising, have very bright colours.

Indication - Shibuya Center Town (2005) by Hisaharu MotodaJaPigozzi Collection

Two artists who have created striking interpretations of contemporary Japanese cities are Hisaharu Motoda (b.1973) and Sohei Nishino (b.1982). Working with lithographs, Motoda offers to the viewers his own vision of a post-apocalyptic Tokyo, where the landmark buildings are immediately recognisable.

Diorama Map Tokyo 2004 (2009) by Sohei NishinoJaPigozzi Collection

Nishino combines several photos of birds’ eye views of the city, which result in gigantic compositions that recreate a sense of loss of the individual an overwhelming metropolis.

Colorful Metamorphose (2009) by Tatsuya MatsushitaJaPigozzi Collection

This exhibition demonstrates the multi-faceted and diverse approaches of the artists within JaPigozzi Collection. The collection offers an extensive overview of key artists born in all areas of Japan between the 1970s and the 1990s. Youth culture, globalisation and the internet are some of the recurring themes that anchor the links between the individual artworks in the collection, yet these works represent much more than a contemporary critique. They are not merely illustrations of life as a young Japanese person, but can also be understood as personal and unique statements in their own entity.

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