Aya Takano is a Japanese Superflat artist known for her bizarre and dreamlike paintings populated by androgynous female characters.Read More
Upon graduating from Tokyo's Tama Art University in 2000, Aya Takano began to develop her distinctive style by drawing from traditional and contemporary art. Among her inspirations are colours and motifs from Japanese art traditions such as ukiyo-e—woodblock prints and paintings that flourished during the Edo period (1603–1867)—and shunga or erotic illustrations. Takano's wide-eyed female characters also evoke the large-eyed, sullen-looking children found in Yoshitomo Nara's paintings.
Aya Takano's synthesis of traditional art and Japanese subculture is in part influenced by Takashi Murakami, for whom she worked as an assistant in the early 2000s and who founded the Superflat movement. Noting the flattening between high and low art in contemporary Japan, Murakami proposed that the aesthetics not readily associated with art—manga, anime, and fashion, among others—provided a view of uniquely Japanese contemporary art and culture.
Aya Takano has been drawn to the supernatural and futuristic since childhood, when she was an avid reader of science fiction. In Little Stars of City Child (2006), a young girl huddles cushions and stuffed animals before the scene of a night city; what could pass for an airship or a spaceship hovers in the background, tucked behind a tall building.
Following the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami of 2011, Aya Takano began to shift her work towards depictions of nature in a reassessment of her life and practice. In the six-metre-wide painting May All Things Dissolve in the Ocean of Bliss (2014), which lent its title to her solo exhibition at Tokyo's Kaikai Kiki Gallery that year, Takano shows a peaceful and contemplative view of animals and humans by the ocean, with celestial orbs, the galaxy, and flying whales adorning the horizon.
Blurring the distinction between fine arts and commercial art, Aya Takano has woven her characters and exotic environments into manga. Spaceship EE, published in 2002, follows a young girl named Noshi on her journey to space. The artist's storytelling continues in Cosmic Juice (2009) and The Jelly Civilization Chronicle (2017).
Represented by Perrotin, Aya Takano has held several solo exhibitions with the gallery including beginning, liminal, ego (2021); Let's make a universe a better place (2020); Union Mystica (2019); and The Jelly Civilization Chronical (2017). Further selected solo exhibitions include __The Ocean Inside, The Flowers Inside, Johyun Gallery, Busan (2015); May All Things Dissolve in the Ocean of Bliss, Kaikai Kiki Gallery, Tokyo (2014); The Universal Portal, Kaikai Kiki Gallery, Taipei (2010).
Selected group exhibitions include A Passion for Drawing. The Guerlain Collection from the Centre Pompidou Paris, The Albertina Museum Vienna (2019); Murakami by Murakami, Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo (2017); Arts Visuels Au Japon Depuis 1970, Centre Pompidou-Metz, France (2017); Animamix Biennale, Daegu Art Museum (2015); Kyoto-Tokyo: From Samurais to Mangas, Grimaldi Forum, Monaco (2010); Garden of Painting Japanese Art of the 00s, The National Museum of Art, Osaka (2010); Winter Garden, Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (2009); The Sensual Line, Museum der Moderne Salzburg (2005).
Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2021