Lehmann Maupin Gallery is pleased to present Metamorphosis: Give Me Your Wings, an exhibition of new work by Japanese artist Mr., on view 13 September – 27 October 2012 at 540 West 26th Street.
The centerpiece of Mr.’s exhibition is a massive installation to be constructed in the middle of the main gallery and interspersed with a series of new paintings. This sprawling installation, the first of it’s kind by the artist outside of Japan, embodies the post-disaster angst and frustration of the Japanese people since the catastrophic events of March 11, 2011. According to the artist, the Japanese people rose in a unified effort to recover from the devastation of the loss of World War II. But along with the recent economic stagnation, the earthquakes in Eastern Japan, and the after effects of the nuclear disaster, a collective depression from an inability to vent their frustrations continues to accumulate within their society.
Mr. has envisioned a complex, chaotic installation that serves as immersive sculpture by forcing viewers to interact with the work and places them in a scenario that is psychologically unsettling. His new body of work aspires to blur the distinction between the interior and exterior through the construction of structures and atmospheres inhabited by familiar objects that are conversely used to communicate the unfamiliar: in this instance, an experience most people have not lived. Viewers are given insight to the psychological state of Japan all the while remaining alien to the experience. Composed of garbage and everyday objects from Japanese life, this installation stands as a reminder of the debris that blanketed Tohoku in the aftermath of March 11.
This multifaceted exhibition will also comprise new paintings that reflect Mr.’s on-going exploration of otaku, the Japanese “cute” subculture marked by fetishistic obsession with young adolescents, technology, sci-fi literature, manga, anime, and video games. In contrast to Mr.’s installation, these paintings will be characterized by bright colors and uplifting imagery. Like his fellow Superflat artists, Mr. approaches the visual language of manga as a means of examining Japanese culture at large, fusing hi and low forms of contemporary expression.
Mr. lives and works in Saitama, just outside of Tokyo. He graduated from the Department of Fine Arts, Sokei Art School, in Tokyo, in 1996. Mr. became a protégé of Takashi Murakami in 1995 and since then has been closely involved with Murakami’s studio and his enterprise, Kaikai Kiki. Recently, Mr.’s work was included in the acclaimed Krazy: the Delirious World of Anime + Comics + Video Games + Art at the Vancouver Art Gallery as well as the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Lyon, with fellow Kaikai Kiki artists Chiho Aoshima and Aya Takano. In 2005, he was included in the exhibition Little Boy: The Arts of Japan’s Exploding Subculture at Japan Society, in New York. Mr.’s work is represented in numerous public and private collections worldwide.