I first visited Havana in November 2016, a few days after Fidel Castro died, and just under a year before Hurricane Irma hit Cuba in September 2017. Since then, much has changed, including the hand-painted signs that punctuate the journey from the airport to the city centre, which today do not celebrate the revolution so much as the 'Unidad y...
The exhibition Beyond Boundaries at Somerset House in London (12 March–2 April 2019) marked the historic contributions of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (CAFA) and the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, on the occasion of their 100th and 150th anniversaries, respectively. Spread across several rooms of Somerset House's...
The National 2019: New Australian Art features work by 70 contemporary Australia-based artists split across three venues: the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) (29 March–21 July 2019), as curated by Isobel Parker Philip, curator of photographs at AGNSW; Daniel Mudie Cunningham,...
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AIDA Makoto was born in 1965 in Niigata, Japan. He earned his BFA and MFA in Oil Painting from Tokyo University of the Arts, graduating in 1991. His prolific practice freely traverses historical and societal boundaries, the contemporary and the pre-modern, east and west, addressing thematic concerns such as the beauty of young girls, war propaganda paintings, and Japan’s ‘salaryman’ culture. His distinctive style featuring elements of bizarre contrast or scathing critique has earned him a sizeable following amongst people of all ages. While at first glance aspects of it may appear sensationalist, Aida’s work in fact embodies a diverse range of impulses and orientations in a multipolar, multilayered way, forbidding over-simplified impressions.
Aida’s practice spans such varied media as painting, photography, film, sculpture, performance, installation, literature and manga. His major retrospective exhibition Monument for Nothing at the Mori Art Museum in 2012 drew over 490,000 visitors and encompassed over 20 years of Aida’s practice. In the words of the Museum’s Chief Curator Mami Kataoka, '[...] at a time when the global political and economic map is undergoing a major transition and Asia is expected to take on a more prominent role, I can think of no better inspiration than a stroll through Aida Makoto’s chaos, whether you are the prime minister, a company president, an artist, a student, or the man on the street. Even if the result is ultimately Aida’s “zero-sum game”, the process behind it promises to give us some sort of new vision' ('Japan, The Chaotic, and Aida Makoto', AIDA Makoto: Monument for Nothing [cat.] (Seigensha Art Publishing, Inc.: Tokyo, 2013) pp. 33 - 46)).
Mizuma Art Gallery is honoured to bring to the Armory Show a solo presentation by Aida Makoto, featuring a major acrylic on canvas piece. At 17.5 meters long, Jumble of 100 Flowers’s title is a literal translation of a Japanese metaphor for flowers blooming in profusion, symbolizing the gathering together of society’s greatest figures and their many achievements. Yet in this work the metaphor is drawn into association with a scene of naked girls running toward us, their bodies caught under crosshairs like targets in a shooter video game. Bursting forth from their perforated skin is not flesh and blood but strawberries, flowers, butterflies and sweets, evoking the notion of the media’s abnormal worship of youthful femininity: an idea that exerts a complex influence within Aida’s work.
New York has played a crucial role within Aida’s practice: he spent eight months here on an ACC grant in 2000, and his work strengthened its critical acclaim amongst US audiences during the Japan Society’s seminal exhibition Bye Bye Kitty!!! (2011). He has participated in international biennales in locations as diverse as São Paulo (2002), Singapore (2006), Sydney (2010), Taichung (2011), Kiev (2012) and Busan (2016). He has shown work in a vast number of exhibitions worldwide, recent major shows including Day & Night (Contemporary Art Center, Vilnius, Lithuania, 2011), The Non-Thinker (Château des ducs de Bretagne, Nantes, France, 2014), The Road to World Heritage!! – Meet the real AMK48 years old (Kirishima Open-Air Museum, Kagoshima, Japan, 2014), and So, this is what they call 'Still Alive' (Niigata Prefectural Museum of Modern Art, Japan, 2015).
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