Nishimura Gallery is pleased to present ‘REQUIEM for Tama’ an exhibition of Tadanori YOKOO from Wednesday, 1st April to Saturday, 23rd May 2020.
Tadanori Yokoo, born in 1936 in Hyogo prefecture, rose to prominence in the 1960s as a graphic designer with outstanding talent, and also showed a shining presence in other fields such as painting, film, literature, music, and so on; he literally became a hero of the times and led Japanese avant-garde culture. In Yokoo’s works, indigeneity, metaphor, eroticism, overflowing unconscious and dazzling colors are combined with amazing affinities, and a thrilling exceptional creativity is powerfully erupting. They revolutionized the stagnation of the design world dominated by modernism at that time, and with his appearance as a watershed, Japanese pop culture underwent a decisive transformation.
From early on, Yokoo has received high reputation internationally, winning the Grand Prize for Print in the 6th Paris Biennale in 1969 and becoming the first living graphic designer held solo exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, NY in 1972. He has been continued to hold numerous exhibitions in Japan and abroad and active as one of Japanese leading artists both in name and reality. After he received a revelation at the Picasso exhibition of The Museum of Modern Art, NY in 1980, he shifted the focus of his creative activities to the painting and continues to produce astonishing painting works in both quality and quantity to this day.
In Yokoo's painting mainly, life and death, dream and reality, ordinary and extraordinary are depicted without clear boundary, focusing on private matters such as his own personal history and interests. Infantilism, eroticism, metaphor, quotation, repetition and humor are richly whirled, the spirit of our time appears thickly at the universal height. As if there were all things in the universe within him, the painter could depict the secrets of this world by simply dipping his brush into its source; these paintings contain various meanings and mysteries reminiscent of the limitless mineral deposits.
In this exhibition, about 100 paintings depicting Tama, Yokoo's beloved cat who died in 2014, will be shown for the first time.
Yokoo says about cats, "The Muse of the artist, the incarnation of beauty, the artist himself, and all the characters that the artist must have." *1 Tama was a cat suddenly came to the backyard of the Yokoo’s house as a stray cat and lived with his family for the next 15 years. He recalls, "She was human-like and has a feeling." *2
The series of these works, which were produced from 2014, the year Tama died, to this year 2020, were painted by Yokoo mainly based on her photographs with his feeling for Tama: "Let's be a family again when we are reborn." *3 The casual moments, depicted in the paintings unaffectedly, vividly convey to us Yokoo’s love for Tama and the intimate atmosphere that existed between the two.
Please look forward to the Requiem that Tadanori Yokoo, a great artist and cat lover, has been dedicated to the late Tama for six years.
We are looking forward to your visit.
On 1st April, the first day of the exhibition, 'REQUIEM for Tama' a book of these paintings with writings by Yokoo will be released from Kodansha Ltd. Please feel free to pick it up at bookstores or our gallery.
*1, *2 the 2020 January issue of "Hitotoki" (Wedge)
*3 the 2014 June 6th issue of "Shukan Dokushojin"