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issue 40 - October/November 2017
CURVE magazine cover October/November 2017
Intelligence  Who What Where

REFLECTIVE GENIUS

Keiichi Tanaami: One of Japan's Modern Greats on Show in Moscow

Keiichi Tanaami's Land of Mirrors offers a wonderful window into the world of a genius. A leading example of Japan's Pop Art scene, Tanaami's work will be on show at Moscow's Gary Tatintsian Gallery. Keiichi Tanaami is one of the leading pop artists of postwar Japan and has been active as a multi genre artist since the 1960s as a graphic designer, illustrator, video artist and fine artist. Tanaami was born in Tokyo in 1936. He was 9 years old when Tokyo was bombed during the Great Tokyo Air Raid of World War II in 1945.

Images seared into the back of his mind at this time would become major motifs in his artwork: war; roaring American bombers; firebombs dropped from planes; eroticism; American consumerism; and, in a later period, philosophical reflections on the meaning of life and death. Themes in his works a dead goldfish, deformed characters, rays of light, helical pine trees, roaring American bombers, firebombs dropped from planes, fleeing masses, flashes from bombs reflecting in water reflect images from a world of dreams and childhood memories. In 1967, Tanaami took his first trip to New York City. There he came face to face with the works of Andy Warhol, shining brightly amidst the whirlwind of prospering American consumerism, and Tanaami was struck by the new possibilities of art within the world of design.

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