Takuro Tamayama and Tiger Tateishi
July 27 – August 31, 2019
Nonaka-Hill is pleased to present a two-artist exhibition, Takuro Tamayama and Tiger Tateishi. The show features a new installation, video and sculpture works by Takuro Tamayama, brought together with Tiger Tateishi’s large oil painting Rotating Fuji from 1991 and selected prints dating from 1973-1981.
Takuro Tamayama and Tiger Tateishi, while generations apart, share penchants for surprising fantasy narrative works depicting evolutions of our planet and others, often through the anthropomorphism of common objects. While both artists engage a repertory of domestic symbols, always colorful and often spinning, Tamayama’s work appears distinctively spare and Tateishi’s work is distinctively baroque.
At the gallery entrance, Takuro Tamayama’s new monochrome yellow video Dance plays on a monitor, bathed in blue light from the underside of a semi-circular table. On the tabletop, a sculpture of a sandwich linked to a hamburger stands upright on a plate, looking “human”. The one-minute video shows a choreography of six rotating gold rocks, swirling into a configuration resembling one body as we know it (head/torso/ two arms/ two legs), then repositioning in three pairs, suggesting three even-more rudimentary bodies (head/body), all nodding, before all exit stage left/right. Adjacent, Tiger Tateishi’s Planets Blossom silkscreen presents a narrative image sequence of round planets cracking, transforming into rose planets. A red curtain leads to Tamayama’s colored light-saturated room scale immersive experience entitled Eclipse Dance (2019). A cluster of tables forms a new Pangea-like plateau, dividing the atmosphere’s light into intense red above and hazy blue below. A rotating veined white marble form, again evocative of a human, is positioned with tense relationship to a spherical form, evocative of a celestial body – perhaps a sun, or a moon. In the next space, Tamayama’s Eclipse, a new large-scale video projection with sound composed by the artist, presents well-known objects of domesticity (especially cleaning), cast into a weightless and elastic, unknown space. This atmosphere is also a narrative which shifts to reveal the silhouette of Tamayama’s rudimentary figure slowly eclipsing a hazy planet, all set to a repeating, trance-inducing stanza. A fourth space, saturated with blue light, presents Tamayama’s spinning red monochrome sculpture of a hanging, double-headed mop whose fiber string head has fully transitioned into long red, human hair. This rotating work confronts Tateishi’s comic-strip format painting Rotating Fuji (1991), which is lit precariously by white light imposed into the blue atmosphere. The painting depicts six views of Mt. Fuji tumbling outside the window of room, occupied by scampering furniture, all set within grids of floral wallpaper and marble. A fifth room, painted yellow, displays Tateishi’s prints dating from 1973 to 1981. Each of these works show a fantasy of planet formation, evolution and/or anthropomorphic transformation.
Takuro Tamayama: Attracted to the narratives which common objects can create in relationship with each other, Tamayama began staging objects and sculpture in room scaled installations as early as 2012. These immersive environments offer no linear means to comprehend Tamayama’s narrative, rather the environment is the decentralized narrative of symbols. Often, tools of the mundane rituals of cleaning and grooming abandoned of its designated role anthropomorphize into alien objects. In absence of human presence, the mop, an abstracted marble figure, hybrid hamburger and sandwich statue, and combs imbedded in irregular concrete forms, all having some human resonance, occupy the human void. In his recent works, Tamayama has utilized curtains to reorganize the space experience, and colored lights to saturate and destabilize the visual senses. He produces long-form video and music, adding to the time and non-materiel dynamics of these constructed spaces. Tamayama’s new video installation, Eclipse is inspired by Tateishi’s fascination with aliens, UFOs and outer space, as both artists construct alternate dimensions of illusions and fantasy.
Takuro Tamayama was born in 1990, Gifu Prefecture, Japan. He lives and works in Tokyo. Tamayama was awarded first place in Aichi University of the Arts, 2012 Class Bachelors of Fine Art Graduate Project, 2013. Tamayama received a Masters Degree in Fine Arts from the Tokyo University of the Arts in 2015. He is the recipient of Art Award Tokyo Marunouchi 2015 Shigeo Goto Award. Tamayama’s developing oeuvre includes installations, video, music, wall-based and sculptural works, as well as collaborative installation projects for Nike and the fashion brand, Zucca. He has had numerous solo and group exhibitions in Japan including recent solo shows, Dirty Palace at Calm & Punk Gallery, 2018 and They Hardly Ever Stand Still at Talion Gallery, 2019, both in Tokyo. This is Tamayama’s first exhibition outside of Japan.
Tiger Tateishi: Enchanted by Disney cartoons and American movies in his youth, Tiger Tateishi was later drawn to Mad Magazine and stories by science fiction authors, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, and Robert Sheckley. He began his art career in 1963, producing “Pop Art” paintings from a Japanese point of view, colliding Japan’s iconic Mt. Fuji, Godzilla, and Samurai together with international icons such as Mao Tse Tung, an atomic mushroom cloud, MAD Magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman, Coca-Cola, the American Western landscape and KKK processions. To parody the tourism initiatives of the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, Tateishi founded The Institute of Tourist Art (1964-66), creating works which operated off the Mt. Fuji as beloved national symbol and tourism moneymaker. His first solo exhibition of the same year was titled Accumulated Civilization, an idea which echoes through his oeuvre.
With the desire to draw “nonsense cartoons”, then unpopular in Japan, Tateishi and his wife Fumiko left for Milan in 1969, drawn to the city of Futurism. Notably, their move was concurrent with other new frontiers felt globally; Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and the Apollo 11 first moon landing. As a consummate absorber of his surroundings, Tateishi met Giorgio de Chirico (whose perspectival style he had appropriated earlier in 1964) and merged de Chirico-style images into a new storyboard sequencing in his paintings. This format, usually only seen in comics, proved ideal for making paintings of Sci-Fi narratives. An employee of Ettore Sottsass’s saw these works and introduced the architect/designer to Tateishi and an extraordinary group of drawings were produced setting Sottsass’s early proposals for fantastical and erotic architectural forms in outer space terrains. While attributed to Sottsass, these works are often signed “Tiger pinxit”, Latin for “Tiger painted it”. Tateishi also started making silkscreen prints from the early 1970s in Milan, a selection of which are on view. These works, and Rotating Fuji incorporate the story-board format which Tateishi continued to utilize in paintings, drawings and artist’s books throughout his career.
Tiger (Kōichi) Tateishi was born in 1941, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan. He passed away in 1998. He received a degree from Musashino University Junior College of Art and Design in 1963. Tateishi’s vast oeuvre includes oil painting, prints, comics, illustration, children’s books, and ceramics. Since 1963, the artist has had numerous solo and group exhibitions in Japan, Europe, and the United States. After his death, two retrospectives were organized: Tiger Tateishi: The Endless Tiger at Tagawa City Art Museum, 1999 and Metamorphose Tiger: Walking through the Labyrinth with Tiger Tateishi, O Museum,1999 (cat.). Tateishi was featured in a two-artist shows, The World is Strange! The Manga and painting of Tiger Tateishi and Yuichi Yokoyama, Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, 2017. Recent group exhibitions include Tokyo 1955-1970: A New Avant Garde, 2012; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Japanorama: A New Vision on Art Since 1970,Centre Pompidou-Metz, 2018. A touring Tateishi survey exhibition is planned for 2020/2021 appearing at Chiba City Museum of Art, Aomori Museum of Art, Takamatasu Art Museum and The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama.