HERE TODAY, GONE TOMORROW

MADSAKI

May 19, 2017 – June 15, 2017
GALLERY HOURS :11:00 – 19:00
GALLERY CLOSED:
SUNDAY, MONDAY, PUBLIC HOLIDAY
RECEPTION:Friday, May 19, 2017 18:00 –

※This exhibition is now concluded.
Thank you to all the many people who stopped by.

Introduction:

MADSAKI’s solo exhibition, “HERE TODAY, GONE TOMORROW” will be opening at Kaikai Kiki Gallery from May 19, 2017.

MADSAKI was born in 1974 in Osaka, Japan. After immigrating to the melting pot known as New York at a young age and graduating from Parsons School of Design, he worked as a member of the international artist group Barnstormers before starting his solo career based in Tokyo and New York, ranging from elaborative drawings to huge installations. In recent years he has drawn on provocative words and historic masterpieces in his work as a way of asking questions about the meaning of art and the value of artwork from an ironical point of view.

In August 2016, MADSAKI’s solo exhibition titled “HICKORY DICKORY DOCK” was held at Hidari Zingaro in Nakano Broadway, Tokyo. Presented works include some canvases in which he appropriated an overwhelming variety of images that flood our society such as movie scenes from the past, portraits of politicians and flower motif paintings by artist Takashi Murakami, along with a series of paintings composed of provocative and satirical phrases. The transcendental absurdness of his spray paintings over the underlying awareness of political and social issues became a big topic in the local art scene.

In this exhibit, located at the Kaikai Kiki Gallery, the artist will expand upon a new series where he experiments with a more private, self-referencing approach in which he chose his wife as his subject. The expressly Japanese background and eroticism are elements we have never seen in his work and reflect the sentiment of an artist like MADSAKI, whose complex identity spanning both Japan and the United States embraces the street culture of NY and his experience there as a bike messenger. With this new form of expression, MADSAKI attained a quality of a fine piece of literature where he depicts his own personal life through an insight into the fleeting, transient nature of everyday life, and with the rebellious spirit at the same time.

Please come see the new challenge taken on by the artist MADSAKI in his latest solo show at Kaikai Kiki Gallery.

Message From the artist:

I have always tried to transform my rugged feelings toward this fleeting world into slang and make paintings with those words. Or, I’ve barely managed to prove to myself that I am in this world by painting past masterpieces and celebrities with a spray can, and in doing so, spitting on the value of beauty I’ve gone through.
In most of these new works, I draw my wife. While drawing her in my studio, there were many times that I could not stop crying.

Transience.

I want to believe that these feelings of love and strong connection will last for eternity. However, there is no eternity and one day it will come to a rattling collapse.

Probably a big earthquake will come. Probably a war will break out. Probably…our hearts will grow apart.

It will collapse.

FUCK OFF!

Although tears are coming down as I draw my wife,
I replace the nozzle and spray on the color.
I curse my shitty self, spit on it, and spray on the color somehow. Somehow the color is sprayed, that’s all that I can do.

MADSAKI

A Message from Takashi Murakami

I am tremendously fond of graffiti. Back when I used to live in NY, I would frequent a store around Canal Street in SoHo that sold spray cans to buy T-shirts and graffiti magazines. So I thought I was relatively in the know, but then I met one of my Kaikai Kiki staff members, Takumi Kaseno, who is exceedingly knowledgeable about graffiti. He taught me about the form’s history and various aspects one must really pay attention to, which rather intimidated me, and I have since been consulting him about things related to graffiti.

For two years now we have had a graffiti-oriented program at our small galleries in Nakano, in which we would invite artists that have caught my attention to do shows with us; so far, we have already presented eleven artists. I casually surf the Internet and whenever I come across artists who are making images that tug at me, I approach them. In the past two years, I have mainly been surfing Instagram posts, fishing for images. After I had contacted a few artists this way already, Rei, a painting staff at my Kaikai Kiki NY studio, told me that MADSAKI was her friend. In fact, he was one of the artists I had “found” while following her Instagram page, I think. I wanted to buy his work, so I directly negotiate a discount with him, and was fortunate enough to obtain the very works on which I had set my eyes; those I would call “pseudo-Matisse.”

Soon after the purchase, I had a chance to present these works in Takashi Murakami’s Superflat Collection, an exhibition at the Yokohama Museum of Art, which showcased my own collection.

On the day of the opening, the artist cheerfully trotted over to me. He had the type of mannerism I disliked, overly friendly and loud-mouthed; I laughed with him politely, trying to be nice. Later, the installation shots from the exhibition were ready and as I reviewed them, MADSAKI’s pseudo-Matisse paintings kept tugging at me despite their easy, imitative nature. So I asked Kaseno (the said employee who is knowledgeable about graffiti) to gather information and references about him, asking him to get in touch with the artist to convey my wish to see all his available works. MADSAKI immediately came to me with his works, including a silly, dirty-joke of a drawing sprayed on paper about 30 x 20cm big. They appealed to me, so I purchased about 80% of fifty or so works he brought that day. 

Then I let them sit for a while.

After a few months, I wanted to see the works again and had everything I had bought laid out for a review, and then had Kase-nyan (Kaseno’s nickname) arrange a meeting with the artist himself. Upon seeing the artist, I asked if he would be interested in doing a show with us, and he was immediately on board. When I meanly suggested holding it the following month, he casually agreed. And so we held his solo show using the Zingaro spaces in Nakano. His works for the show were great, with an amazing sense of momentum, so I asked him to also paint pseudo-Murakami flowers as well, which also turned out great. 

As we carried on this way, I started to get glimpses of his naïve, earnest side that seemed contrary to his overly friendly, loud demeanor from when we first met. I realized that, as someone who grew up overseas and later returned to live in Japan, he had experienced an identity crisis peculiar to “returnees.” I could discern the melancholy of a fellow countryman in the way he seemed to repeatedly and desperately return to aspects of Japan in his work in order to address that crisis; I fell for him. It is as though I have fallen in love with part of him that is an artist.

Since then, we have had many discussions and traveled abroad together, and as we grew closer, I began to realize that he may have bottomless talent. That is how I ended up proposing his upcoming solo show at our Kaikai Kiki Gallery.

Although the works may appear to have a generic graffiti air to them, their surfaces exude MADSAKI’s peculiar brand of sorrow, which I appreciate. For this show, he paints the subject he cherishes the most in the world—his wife—to urge him to peer deep into the bottom of his own soul. He has already started to post images of his works on Instagram, and so far they are very well received.

For those of you who would like to see the actual works, I invite you to come visit the show.

Takashi Murakami

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