Garden of Unearthly Delights: Works by Ikeda, Tenmyouya & teamLab
Japan Society Gallery
October 10, 2014 through January 11, 2015
A monster tsunami uproots a city. Modern tough guys lock samurai-style in battle. Candy-colored streams of animals and flowers hyperpixelate. These dramatic visual moments are among those to be encountered in Garden of Unearthly Delights: Works by Ikeda, Tenmyouya & teamLab.
Manabu Ikeda (b. 1973), Hisashi Tenmyouya (b. 1966), and the art and technology collective teamLab (est. 2001) are artistic visionaries who are shaping today’s Japanese art and culture. But each also harkens back to the Japanese tradition of the master craftsmen, takumi, in the level of technical precision and detail they bring to the creation of complex images. This exhibition introduces over twenty intricate allegorical paintings, installations, and digital works by these three artists.
The featured works find an affinity in the hallucinatory vision of The Garden of Earthly Delights, the fantastical triptych by the fifteenth-century Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch. Just as Bosch did, these three artists collage together imagery and concepts relating to different places and times in the past, present, and future. The results are allegorical depictions of urgent cultural and social issues in a manner informed by their contemporary environment— today’s world of spectacle and information overload.
There is a plurality of approach to mediums in these artists’ works, and yet, seen together, it makes clear some of the notable characteristics of today’s Japanese art shared by all of them—the obsessive attention to detail requiring a vertigo-inducing amount of time to execute, and total immersion in the dense and fast-changing visual sensations of the information society.
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