KYNE Kaikai Kiki


April 9, 2021 – April 28, 2021
GALLERY HOURS :11:00 – 19:00

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

※Please note that entry may be restricted if the number of visitors exceeds the maximum capacity.



Nihonga painting, graffiti, ‘80s pop culture, and today’s mixed culture. At first glance, you may not see any relevance among these elements, but none of them can be left out when I explain my paintings.

During my university years, I studied Nihonga, learning from the works of the great masters and painting with mineral pigments. I learned that there were manners and styles passed down from generation to generation until they form history.

At around the same time, I came across graffiti, which is a form of street art born in the United States in the 1970s, and started to try marker tagging and wheatpasting myself on street walls. Unlike Nihonga, where you take a decent amount of time to work on it, graffiti is something you have to finish quickly and leave there for people to appreciate. I found them both very interesting as two contrasting art-making processes.

Apart from art, I grew up in the 1980s under the strong influence of the idols, music, and culture of the decade. I remember those girls who were there as a symbol of cuteness, pop songs made to suit the taste of the time using the technologies available back then, and album covers produced in line with the design trends of the ‘80s. There were also those utopian stories unfolding in a flat universe called manga. Together, they constituted a mood that was unique to that specific period, which is still fresh in my memory. Further to that, the “mood” had a “feel of air” you can never really grasp today by looking at old pictures you find online.

The portraits of girls I’m currently working on are not imagery of ‘80s idols imbued with the essence I absorbed from Nihonga and graffiti, but rather depiction or personification of various cultures and moods I have experienced personally. While the inspiration lies in a cultural revival, I think presenting them as art can give them different perspectives.

I see myself as one of the in-betweeners who belong to a mixed culture which does not fall into hardcore oaku nor hardcore street kids; It’s a kind of middle ground born as a result of the widespread use of the internet and the prevalence of street culture among “general” public.

When I look at it that way, it seems no coincidence that I met Mr. Murakami who has always explored boundaries among different cultures as one of the pioneers in incorporating Japanese pop culture such as anime into fine art, and me holding a solo show with Kaikai Kiki Gallery feels like part of his artistic expression. I accept the opportunity with sincerity and simply do my best hoping that everyone will enjoy my work.


We are please to announce KYNE’s solo exhibition, KYNE Kaikai Kiki, to open at last on April 9, 2021.

Our project with KYNE has steadily been moving forward toward this goal since we started selling his prints at Tonari no Zingaro in Fall 2020. This solo exhibition is a long-awaited joint project with KYNE, GALLERY TARGET, and us, Kaikai Kiki Gallery.

KYNE is an artist who focuses on portraiture and has been on the scene since 2006. At first glance, his style may resemble those of Julian Opie and Hisashi Eguchi. His concept, however, is backed by the line drawing technique of nihonga (Japanese painting), which he studied; the yankii (Japanese delinquent youth) culture of Fukuoka, where he was born; and the world of graffiti, which has an affinity with the yankii culture; as well as his private longing for and public rejection of graffiti. These are all complexly reflected in his work.

His artistic background entails rich interactions with the context of Fukuoka’s local fashion. In addition, his work has a strong connection with lifestyle and interior magazine Casa BRUTUS, and it struck a chord in the hearts of Japanese people of culture.

KNYE made news in the art world when, at the 2019 Art Fair Tokyo, the collectors made a mad dash as the doors opened to Gallery Target’s booth, where he was exhibiting, and his works sold out in an instant.
Gallery Target has its clients sign a contract that forbids resale of the artwork for a period of several years, so KYNE’s paintings (as opposed to prints) are rarely available on the secondary market. As a result, the prices of his prints have skyrocketed, from the original 100,000 – 200,000 JPY range to 2 – 3 million JPY now.

This is not a very pleasant development for Gallery Target or KYNE. Through our involvement, we have been aiming to supply prints to satisfy the needs of the clients, to quench their thirst, and to provide a guideline for the stabilization and normalization of the market, while at the same time questioning the meaning of the value of the original artwork.
Since November 2020, we have been releasing three edition prints each month, to culminate in a solo exhibition of KYNE’s original paintings at Kaikai Kiki Gallery in April 2021. And we have finally reached the goal of the narrative we formulated and have been following.

In Spring 2021, with the world abuzz with an “art bubble,” prices of young artists’ works are surging at local auctions in Tokyo, with KYNE taking the lead. For an artist, it is a challenge that requires a life-long devotion to art to establish their worth through the past, present, and future. At this solo exhibition, KYNE is aiming to get a huge leg up. Instead of an upgrade of status merely through branding, he is sure to radiate the essence of art. There are also some collaboration works with me in the show, so I hope you will come check out his new works.

Takashi Murakami

As precautionary measures to help contain the further spread of COVID-19, visitors are asked to wear masks and sanitize their hands before entering the gallery.
(Hand sanitizer is available at the entrance. Visitors without masks will be refused entry.)
Please refrain from visiting the gallery if you have any symptoms such as fever or cough.

Our staff will also adopt frequent hand sanitation and wear masks. The gallery will be routinely ventilated and high-touch areas will be regularly disinfected.

*Please check our website or Instagram for the latest information regarding opening hours, as the gallery schedule is subject to abrupt change due to unpredictable circumstances.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

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