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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Kenichi Koyama - when girls face their melancholy of their teenage

Images source: Kenichi Koyama, from Shoujotatchi no Yuutsu (Girls Melancholy)

Kenichi Koyama, born in 1973 in Chiba Prefecture, studies through his illustrations, the destructive behavior of some young girls, such as self-harm and prostitution, with a feminine sensibility (the illustrator is a man of gentle and reserve). And these themes, he personally knows them; it’s in 1998, that Kenichi Koyama began his career as an illustrator, after he met with a girl who was practicing self-mutilation, an encounter that definitely gave this special taste to his work.

Maybe because since this encounter, he remained in contact with teenagers practicing self-mutilation and prostitution, his illustrations show practices that may seem a bit strange, a bit extreme but therefore that seem based on reality and experience: scissors are present in almost every drawings, girls mutilate their feet, want to commit to suicide after brushing their teeth, mutilate their violins and dolls, help each other in destruction… At the same time, they cajole, reassure, give attention cares to their scars, to their dolls, in a world without boys, as if the man kind is unable to listen and to understand their troubles. Because it may also be that, being a girl, having the brain so complex and twisted, it feels that only your best friends can understand you. And this is also what we discover through Kenichi Koyama illustrations: this world between best friends.

The drawing here again is childish, the painted colors are soft and pastel. The heads of the young girls are enormously disproportionate as to cram a too heavy brain of devouring thoughts, on childish bodies, as self-injury is mainly affecting teenagers in changing.

If Kenichi Koyama work may seem at first erotic, the subject is much deeper, pointing to the uneasiness that many teenagers – and this, throughout the world – meet. But mixing and reinterpreting eroticism and death, is not merely a Japanese fact, as art has always explored these issues, Eros and Thanatos, odd couple, the two biggest taboos of humanity.

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