With the opening of a new Makoto Aida show at Mizuma Gallery, and older work on show at Takahashi Collection in Hibiya, it seems a good idea to re-publish an essay from January about the artist. It has been updated and corrected. I met Makoto Aida at Bigakko recently, along with some of his closest co-conspirators, including Hiroyuki Matsukage, Parco Kinoshita, and his wife Hiroko Okada. This crucial figure of 1990s and 2000s art continues to inspire younger artists with his anarchic and irreverent ideas, but he remains a mystery to most observers in the West. I wrote this blog, posted first on 2010/01/07, to help understand the paradox of this brilliant but sometimes self-defeating artist.

**THIS ARTICLE ALSO APPEARS AS PART OF MY BOOK Before and After Superflat: A Short History of Japanese Contemporary Art 1990-2011

**SEE MY NEW ARTICLE ABOUT AIDA MAKOTO (published in Bijutsu Techo, Jan 2013):
世界はなぜ会田誠に関心を向けないのか?("Aida Makoto: The World Won't Listen?")**



When Will Aida Be Famous? [trans]


Any foreign observer coming to terms with the contemporary art scene in Japan today will eventually pose themselves this one plaintive question: When will Makoto Aida be famous?


Makoto Aida: the original bad boy of the famous “65 group” (the Showa 40 nen kai), the most revered intellectual-artist of his generation in Japan, and the originator of many of the most consistently edgy and distinctive ideas identified now with the otaku/pop culture influenced Japanese contemporary art of the 1990s... When will he be appreciated? I don’t mean in Tokyo, of course. In fact, it sometimes feels like Aida has some kind of franchise deal going with Bijutsu Techo. He is always all over the place: in galleries, talk shows, cram classes, openings. You cannot move for Aida in Tokyo. But I mean internationally. Is he doomed to be forever the nearly man of Japanese contemporary art?


Certainly, he has been seeking more international visibility lately. Participation in recent shows in New York (“Heavy Light: Recent Photography and Video From Japan”) and San Francisco (“Wallworks” at the Yerba Buena Center), have brought him back to the US. They featured safely packaged talks “introducing” him to a sceptical public, after the controversies surrounding the post 9/11 showing of his “A Picture of an Air Raid on New York City” at the Whitney in 2003. His huge wall mural (image above), that debuted in San Francisco, was a big feature piece of the “Twist and Shout” show in Bangkok at the end of last year. Mizuma Gallery, too, keeps up a steady supply of Aida publications – even now a DVD in English – to promote their signature house artist: this goofy, mercurial, chain-smoking, mid-40s figure, whose precocious talent as a student was recognised early, and who has since 1995 enjoyed a special relationship with the gallerist/collector Sueo Mitsuma. Prices in the Asian market are rising, they say, and it doesn’t hurt either that Ryutaro Takahashi’s love affair with Japanese cotemporary, after Yayoi Kusama, was ignited by Aida. 30,000 people a month – it is said –saw his joint retrospective at Ueno Royal Museum with Akira Yamaguchi in 2007 (although I was there and, to be honest, it seemed to me that a large part of the public were there mainly to see Yamaguchi’s cult Edo-style graphics).
 もちろん、彼は最近、さらなる国際的な露出を心がけているようだ。ニューヨークや(「Heavy Light:日本の写真とビデオの現在」)、サンフランシスコ(イエルバブエナ・センターでの「Wallworks」)で行われた最近のグループ展に参加し、アメリカでの再活動を果たしている。9/11後の2003年にホイットニー美術館でゼロ戦がニューヨークを爆撃する『紐育空爆之図(にゅうようくくうばくのず)』を展示し論議が取り巻く中、懐疑的な観客に無難なお決まりのラインで紹介された。サンフランシスコでデビューを飾った、彼の巨大な壁画(上画像)は、去年末のバンコクでの「Twist and Shout」展の展示作品の一つであった。ミズマアートギャラリーも、このおどけて、陽気で、愛煙家である40代半ばの会田の出版物を常に用意し、お抱えアーティストを宣伝するのに事欠かない。今では英語版のDVDなどもある。学生にしては早熟な才能はすぐに認められ、1995年からギャラリスト/コレクターである三潴末雄と特別な関係にある。彼らが言うには、アジア市場での価格は上がってきており、高橋龍太郎の、草間弥生以降の日本の現代アートに対する情熱が、会田によって火をつけられたことは大いなるプラスであった。2007年、月に3万人もの人々が上野の森美術館で山口晃と会田の共同回顧展を見たと言われている(私も見に行ったのだが、正直に言うと入場者のほとんどが、山口のカルトな江戸スタイルグラフィックを見る為に集まったように見えた)。

One of my favourite (sad) stories about the plight of Aida involves those other famous bad boys of contemporary art, the Chapman Brothers. Brought together for the show “Lonely Planet” at Mito, they and Aida got on like a house on fire. No surprises there. The Chapmans wanted to bring him to London. Mizuma duly followed up, sending all the back catalogue to Jay Jopling at White Cube, only to have the package come back return to sender practically unopened. The hip gallery just didn’t get it. The Chapman’s huge plastic dioramas of model Nazis killing each other in an orgy of violence are apparently so much more acceptable to Western taste than Aida’s loving sculptures of edible Mi-Mi chan. Everyone (in the West) loves a good war movie–as long as its about nasty Germans. But don’t count on M. Pinault or Mr Saatchi buying up Aida’s uncomfortable “Sensoga” paintings any time soon. In this respect, Takashi Murakami’s Japan is so much more marketable than Aida’s. “Superflat”, which featured Aida’s “The Giant Member Fuji Versus King Gidora” as one of its star works, was in many respects Aida-lite all the way: a string of unknown graphic artists and friends of Murakami, parading cheap, straight-off-the-streets-of-Akihabara lolikon fetishism, but repackaged in plastic, slick, airbrushed, theorised style that stayed just the right side of titillating or shocking. Japanese kitsch, not Japanese hardcore. The rest is history.

 現代美術の、ほかの有名な「型にはまらない人達」にも関わる会田の苦境について、私のお気に入りの(悲しい)話の一つに、チャップマン兄弟がある。水戸で「ロンリープラネット」展を一緒に開催した時、彼らが大盛況を極めたのには何の不思議もない。そこで、チャップマン兄弟は、会田をロンドンに呼ぼうと考えた。それについてミズマアートギャラリーはカタログをWhite Cubeのジェイ・ジョプリングに送るなど、きちんとした対応を取った。しかし、荷物はろくに開封もされずに送り返されてきたのである。今風のギャラリーには、ウケなかったのだ。チャップマン兄弟の、暴力が乱交しナチスが殺し合いをしている巨大なプラスチック製のジオラマモデルは、会田の愛らしい『食用人造少女・美味ちゃん』より明らかに西欧では受け入れられやすいのだ。(西欧では)誰もがドイツ人が悪者である限り、良い戦争物の映画が好きだ。しかし、しばらくはピノー氏とサーチ氏が、会田の不快な「戦争画」を買い占める事はなさそうだ。この点では、村上隆の日本像は会田の物と比べるとはるかに市場向けなのだ。会田の『巨大フジ隊員VSキングギドラ』をメインの作品の一つに取り入れている村上の「スーパーフラット」は、多くの点で軽い感じの会田なのだ。一連の無名のグラフィックアーティストや村上の友達が、安っぽい、秋葉原のロリコン趣味をそのまま持ってきたかのような物を並べ立てている。しかし、それらは、刺激的かつショッキングであるように計算しつくされ、滑らかに色づけされたプラスチックに姿を変え、再包装されているのだ。それらは日本のキッチュであって、日本のハードコアではない。後は皆が知っての通りである。

It is all about production values, of course: those carefully airbrushed translations, which modulated unhinged otaku ravings for the sensitive tastes of star struck Los Angelenos and politically correct New Yorkers. Aida is just pure unadulterated Tokyo Trash, often as ugly and in your face as the crows in Yoyogi Park as the sun goes down. For a long time he refused translations. Plus Aida gives his own self-defeating game away at the start of the DVD, when he admits his voracious appetite for ideas, tends to lead to an inevitable “falling away” in the final product. You cannot brand and mass market this kind of restless art. The technical wizardry may be marvellous, and the ideas unbelievable. But Monument for Nothing, in a world of high resolution Taschen art books, can easily look like a half-baked collection of mad ideas thrown together by an art school professor. For every moment of sheer inspiration – for me, this would include Azemichi, Ai-chan bonsai, war paintings, Osama Bin Laden, and the homeless cardboard castle – there are just as many duff items and hungover gags that should have just been left in the closet – monster space turds, amputated girls, onigiri men, drunken party snaps, silly sex jokes...

 もちろん全てが製造価値なのだ。これらは慎重に色づけされ、セレブ好きで繊細な好みを持つロスの人々や、政治的に正しいニューヨーカー達の好みに合うように、錯乱したオタクのたわごとを調整し、翻訳しているのだ。会田は全くの純粋な『Tokyo Trash』であり、日暮れの代々木公園のカラスのように醜く目に付きやすいのだ。長い間、彼は英訳を拒否していた。その上、会田は、DVDの冒頭で自滅的な彼の行動を説明しており、新しいアイディアが多すぎて最終的に製品にならない事を認めている。このような売り物にならないアートをブランド化したり、大量生産したりは出来ないだろう。技術的な腕前は素晴らしく、アイデアは信じられないくらい優れている。しかし、高解像度のタッシェンアートブックの世界では、この『Monument for Nothing』は、美術学校の講師がおかしなアイディアをただ詰め込んだ、未完成のコレクションに見えてしまいやすい。私にとって、『あぜ道』、『愛ちゃん盆栽』、『戦争画RETURNS』、『日本に潜伏中のビン・ラディンと名乗る男からのビデオ』、『新宿城』などは、見るたびに真のインスピレーションを感じるが、『スペース・ウンコ』、四肢を切断された女の子の『犬』、『おにぎり仮面の小さすぎる旅』、『男の酒 〜ミレニアム〜』など、役に立たない物や、二日酔いのギャグとして、たんすの中に仕舞っておかれるべき物もある。

That’s Aida: a Y100 slot machine of ideas, and that’s why he is so loved by the Tokyo art world. They are willing to follow him – whether dashing of a wall of lurid intestines, or sitting musing about dirty old men and school girls on a park bench in Ueno (one of the fun stories he tells in the recent Tokyo guidebook by the Showa 40 nen kai) – because Aida seems to mirror all of its joys, its frustrations, its bile, and its beauty.


Making Aida famous, is a passion of a colleague of mine at UCLA, the young former MOCA curator, Gabriel Ritter, who has been writing a book (in Japanese and English) on Aida. Ritter is one of a number of serious, ambitious Japanologists/curators in the US who might be able to help him. Ritter’s “Tokyo Nonsense” show in LA during the summer of 2008 put on the best of post-Aida art in a hip LA art gallery context, and he wants to bring it back to a suitably scruffy and shitamachi style location in Tokyo sometime soon. Aida needs people like Ritter.


One of Aida’s most brilliant and funny moves was also one of his most self-defeating: the refusal to communicate in English. This reached a peak, appropriately, during the international highpoint of his Yokohama Triennial show, built around his “Fake Suicide Machine”. Aida is right of course. Why should he speak English? To do otherwise is to play the game of global art, an American colonial game these days. Why should he provide anything more than a battered, half-way useless dictionary to explain “Mutant Hanako” – to defective observers like me or anyone else, when we wander into the vaudeville street show of contemporary Tokyo as naïve, impressionable foreigners? You’ve got to admire the coglione... Yet its Maurizio Cattelan we see on the Venice walls not Aida. Moreover, Monument to Nothing, as well as some of his most recent wall art, and those girly photos in BT, look and feel like a monument to the bygone 1990s. A lot of Aida’s best ideas, flattened and amputated as they got transmitted around the world in more Western-friendly style, now are more a part of art history. Are the new ideas still coming?

 会田の最も賢く、面白い行動の一つは、彼の最も大きな自滅的な行動の一つでもある、英語で会話する事への拒絶である。それは、おそらく国際的な山場である横浜トリエンナーレでピークを迎え、『自殺未遂マシーン』を作ったりした。会田はもちろん正しい。なぜ彼に英語を話す必要があるのだ。それは、近頃ではアメリカに独占されたグローバルアートのゲームをすることなのだ。私やその他の外国人のような、現代東京の寄席道のショーに迷いこんでしまった、ナイーブで影響を受けやすい不完全な傍観者に『ミュータント花子』を説明する為に、なぜ彼は、ボロボロの半分使い物にならない和英辞書以上のものを用意する必要があるのだろうか。彼のcoglione (度胸)に感心せずにはいられない。しかし、ベネツィアの壁に見るのは会田ではなく、マウリッツィオ・カテランなのだ。更に、『Monument for Nothing』や、その他の彼の最近の壁画や美術手帖の女の子の写真などは、過ぎ去った1990年代の記念碑のように見え、感じられる。会田のたくさんの最高のアイデアは、世界中に伝わるにつれ、より西洋向けのスタイルへと平坦化し、編集されている。そして、今ではそれらのほとんどが美術史の一部となっている。新たなアイデアはまだ湧いてくるのだろうか。

With the inevitable cigarette and can of Sapporo in hand. Aida may still have the last laugh. Flicking through the catalogues or the DVD, you see all the young collaborators and co-conspirators crowding round him, including the now ubiquitous “Chim↑Pom” gang, the hilarious method acting Eri-chan who used to model for him, the effervescent Ichiro Endo. There is also the brilliant work of his wife Hiroko Okada, that – extraordinarily – manages to turn out Aida-related work in a feminist way. Beyond this, there are all the gallerists and writers who have come under his sway – many during the headiest years of Mizuma in the early 2000s, when the gallery was a late night drinking den and a hot house of ideas for a conceptual Japanese art. And some of the most important people who were there at the time still simply can’t forget Aida in their selections. It is no coincidence that we will be seeing him in David Elliott’s big new Japanese show in New York in early 2011, for example. There is, in other words, a real “school” of art here, an Aida school, of which his contemporaries may be jealous. Like a parent slowly resigning himself to the declining years of middle age, Aida may yet still fulfill some of his wildest ambitions—in his children.


Adrian Favell




louboutin outlet
Makoto Aida [trans]
投稿元 : louboutin outlet / 2013年05月17日22:08





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