Beat Kitano à Paris


Want to see the hottest new contemporary artist from Japan – as far as art loving Parisians are concerned? Look no further than Fondation Cartier’s massive, all summer long retrospective by major Japanese pop artist... Takeshi “Beat” Kitano. Um... Surely some mistake. Iz zees not taking ze pees?

Alas, not. One of Europe’s premier contemporary art museums has indeed shown its appreciation and understanding for Japanese contemporary art by cashing in on a six month long exhibition of the famous stand up comic and filmmaker’s zany plastic installations, childish “superflat” paintings, and stand up TV video gags, in a laughing and laughable show called “Gosse de peinture” (a kid of painting).

The promotion of Kitano fits in a contemporary global trend in which celebrities who do a bit of painting or art dabbling as a hobby get to fill the white cubes or steel and glass temples with their off-duty moments of inspiration. The museums get to pocket the results: huge crowds and rapturous media attention. These celebrity artists range from the surprisingly good – Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney – to those who truly stink – Anthony (Hannibal Lector) Hopkins and Ronnie (Rolling Stones) Wood. Kitano is somewhere near the latter pole – and he knows it – but this is not going to deter the massive influx of Japanese tourists, and an unending queue of bourgeois Parisian families trying to find something with which to entertain their bored, spoiled children.

Deeper and darker critics of this trend might want to suggest that the terrorist take over of respectable art institutions by ego-maniac celebrities only points to a kind of Nietzschean transvaluation of all values, cyncially appropriate to a postmodern age in which millions of dollars are spent on a eight foot plastic doll or an inflatable puppy. The emergence of “Beat” Kitano as a major art figure is a perfect post-Warhol, “pop life” irony, something that would no doubt delight another artist whose big shows have also come to resemble children’s adventure playgrounds, Takashi Murakami.

But then, the relation between Takeshi and Takashi is one of the most interesting sub-texts of this fishy Parisian show. The cynical, Murakami-esque feel of the exhibition is no accident. Murakami first introduced Kitano to Fondation Cartier with his Vacances d’été show in 2002. The two have since become a firm art-culture-axis, with Murakami’s regular appearances on Kitano’s “Anyone can be Picasso” art talent show, that is but a trashier version of Murakami’s semi-serious Geisai operation, and shares the same philosophy. And Kitano’s show is due to end on September 10th, a hors d’oeuvre for Murakami’s take over of the Palais de Versailles on September 12th. The Versailles show, in the famous rococo palace, will be the peak of his career so far, following the massive success there of Jeff Koons in 2008—although apparently Murakami is being asked to cut down on the “Dirty Jeff” style installations – big plastic breasts, otaku onanism, and the like – so expect to see lots and lots of happy flowers, dinosaurs and smily DOBs.

Now, I don’t know much about the relation between TK and TM, but it is not difficult to imagine Kitano as a kind of sensei for the younger Murakami. So much of Murakami’s operation these days seems to be taking moves out of the Kitano playbook. Kitano was a foul mouthed stand up comic who vaunted the fact he came from the lowest of the low shitamachi, Kita-senju, and whose performances reflected the underground popular culture of the streets around him. This translated into an insatiable hunger for success, and for revenge on the dominant mainstream culture that had excluded him. For this read, Murakami’s poor Saitama, taxi-driver dad origins, and his appropriation of Tokyo trash pop culture to take revenge on the mainstream Tokyo art world. Kitano flirts with underworld connections, then takes his stylised image of street violence and Japanese trash, to sell as a filmaker to gullible Western audiences. For this read, Superflat and Little Boy, shiny J-pop culture packaged with an edge of the violent and the obscene. But TK, like TM, also plays the line between high/low culture, tossing off the occasional film like Dolls that sells a pretentious version of traditional Japanese culture to delighted neo-Japoniste critics in the West. For this read, Murakami’s nihonga and Buddhist affectations, and the legion of Western theorists and curators who take his ideas seriously. Then Kitano goes home to the rapturous popular acclaim of having become famous in the West. Ditto Murakami.

Watching Kitano’s hysterical “Owarai Ultra Quiz/World Great TV”, where desperate salary men are humiliated in a series of near death experiences, and Kitano appears in a string of ever more absurd latex costumes, trashing the studio or attacking his guests, you can at least see where some of the basic Kaikai Kiki/Geisai ideas are coming from—especially that silly flower ball costume Murakami put on for “Pop Life” at the Tate Modern.

Do the French get the joke that is being played on them? Mais non. On adore le Japon ici. It’s Anime, Manga, Moe and Kawaiiiiii all the way, here. They cannot tell the difference between a Kitano and a Murakami, and that is the point. This is not so much lost in translation, as drowning in it. Still, it will not do the Murakami bandwagon any harm. Fondation Cartier, however, might be thinking twice about its own reputation in all this. One thing is for sure. Kitano will be laughing his poker-faced, hardman face, all the way from Boulevard Raspail back to Adachi-ku. And it is not hard to see that the combined effects of these two big shows in Paris will set back the cause of Japanese contemporary art in Europe about 20 years... Although that is perhaps the point, for people who wish that we could be forever stuck in 1992/3.



オンにおいてしみになってください。エイドリアン。 私は、しばしば、フランス人が、実際、国(秋葉原または渋谷の外の)がどうであるかどうかによってどのような接続でも急速に失う日本の文化のよくパッケージされて、可愛らしく見せた見方を飲み込むための最も悪い被告人のうちのいくつかであると思いました、または、それが直面している多くの挑戦。

2010/05/19 12:43



louboutin outlet
Beat Kitano à Paris
投稿元 : louboutin outlet / 2013年05月17日01:41





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