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Monday, December 21, 2009

ERINA MATSUI - TOKYO NEO POP ARTIST - USING KAWAII AND KOWAI TO EXPRESS JAPANESE YOUTH DIFFICULTIES

Paintings by Erina Matsui (Yamamoto Gendai Gallery)

Once again, Tokyo shows that it remains the top spot for art market in Asia (and probably in all over the world). And many of its artists, whether they are man or woman, shows a natural taste for mixing kawaii (cute) and kowai (fear), two notions incredibly melt in Japanese pop culture, such as artists like Junko Mizuno, Mican or Kenichi Koyama, and many, many others, explore.


Erina Matsui, twenty-five years old, graduated from Tama Art University in Tokyo (like Tomomi Kazumoto), the leading institution for teaching art in Japan, actually began her professional career very early. She started exhibiting at the age of twenty, showed in a collective exhibition of 32 japanese artists in Fondation Cartier in Paris in 2006, became a part of Yamamoto Gendai gallery in 2007, where she sold all of her paintings.

Erina Matsui definitely plays on the cute and disgusting grounds, using her experience and person, to describe a sort of nostalgic relationship with childhood, a feeling torn by dream and japanese pop culture and marketing, using motifs such as mushrooms, cosmos, toys,... Her art describes self-portraits, tortured, face deformed in expressions such as chaos, fear, surprise, dream, haunted by nostalgia, problems that young generations encounter in expressing themselves (Food Chain - Star Wars!), head filled with dreams and fantasy, picturing herself lost into Japanese pop culture such as manga (eyes size exaggerated in Self portrait EX or Erina ni Kugizuke) and incredibly kept and visible Japanese traditions (Dhooon). This nostalgia is part of the Japanese young generation, becoming a characteristic of the new Japanese society, visible in fashion (gothic lolitas, some aspect of Mori Girls) and in the way young women keep themselves into childhood (over using cute accessories such as ribbons, animal motifs, candy pink, but also speaking with a high tone and weak voice).


Her work is at the same time seductively cute, and strangely disturbing. No one can help to think that Erina Matsui is describing the suffering of Japanese new generations, using the now unmasking kawaii trend not only invading Japan and Japanese artists works, but also Europe and the United States (gothic Lolita fashion, illustrators like Adolie Day, Lost Fish, Candy Bird, Krista Huot).

Erina Matsui is exhibiting with other artists at No Man's Land exhibition, at the French Ambassy former building in Tokyo, Hiro-O, until January, 31rst, 2010.




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