marianne boesky gallery

TOKYO GIRLS BRAVO

February 6 – March 13, 2004
CHELSEA | 535 West 22nd Street

Marianne Boesky Gallery is pleased to announce the next exhibition; "Tokyo Girls Bravo," curated by Takashi Murakami.

Takashi Murakami has been the leading influence in the promotion and endorsement of the Japanese Pop and emerging art movements over the past six years. As an attempt to redefine and reinforce the art market in Japan, he has supported and encouraged the growth of emerging artists through curatorial projects, collaborations and the Geisai festival, his own version of a contemporary art fair.

For this exhibition, Murakami has gathered the works of ten young female Japanese artists, whose work explores their personal worlds and the tumultuous society of Tokyo around them. Through paintings, drawings, photographs, and handicrafts, these artists are commenting on their individual 'girlhoods' and sharing in both the celebration and the degradation of feminine identity through the lens of pervasive sexism in Japan.

This exhibition provides insight into Tokyo Pop art from the female perspective by presenting it as a form of escapism, distraction and entertainment within a culture known for its strict social codes. Fantasy, dreams, and the 'kawaii', or rather the 'cute' in Japanese, are featured throughout these works, which are a direct result of the difficulties associated with projecting a strong self image as a female in Japan.

Fantastical dream-like elements comprise the imagery of both Aya Takano and Chiho Aoshima, where young girls are depicted exploring a supernatural world around them. These narratives provide the viewer with a strong sense of escapism and shed light on the inner desires and aspirations of a 'Tokyo Girl.' In Aki Fujimoto's photographs, a magical feeling of nostalgia is drawn through the collages and snapshots of the featured artists.

Also used in abundance is the notion of "kawaii", which involves the use of simple, figurative forms that relate to 'the child', and reflect underlying, hidden emotions. Rei Sato, Hisae Iwaoka, Rieko Kasahara and Chinatsu Ban each contribute to this vernacular in paintings, drawings and handicrafts through the portrayal of furry animals, "floating" organic forms, and scenes of childhood pastimes. Yumiko Inada, Mahomi Kunikata and Makiko Kudo also use 'kawaii' imagery while combining it with the grotesque and erotic, as commentary on social issues within Japanese culture. This is seen with Inada's graphic representation of bulimia, Kunikata's manga (comic) based imagery dripping in sexual content and violence, and Kudo's melancholic and at times self-destructive renderings of cuddly creatures.

CHIHO AOSHIMA
CHINATSU BAN
AKI FUJIMOTO
YUMIKO INADA
HISAE IWAOKA
RIEKO KASAHARA
MAKIKO KUDO
MAHOMI KUNIKATA
REI SATO
AYA TAKANO


Marianne Boesky Gallery is open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-6pm.

Please call 212.680.9889 for further information.