On Saturday, CHG Circa revealed Kazuki Takamatsu’s much anticipated second solo with the gallery (previewed here), “Spiral of Emotions”. Takamatsu, who was in attendance from Japan, has captured the curiosity of his fans with his signature technique called Depth Mapping. Ask Takamatsu about his perplexing style and he might label it as “Shojo-Irasuto”, or a style of illustration inspired by Japanese girl’s comics. He is part of a new generation that celebrates its pop culture, which we see in his goddess-like school girls with a heavenly aura. Takamatsu once fronted his own punk rock band, Almond Crush, and follows current fashion trends, but he also has a spiritual side rooted in cultural tradition. His twelve new paintings explore this tug of war between the old and new.
Kazuki Takamatsu, with his work on opening night.
Takamatsu currently lives and works in Sendai which was devastated by the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami back in 2011. The event can still be felt in Takamatsu’s work which mixes sorrow with hope- a spiral of emotions. His figures rise anew from pools of water but in their arms is something distressing. American audiences might get a sense of power in his young subjects carrying machine guns, but the gun represents feelings of sadness for Japanese. As in his painting, “Something to Believe In”, it symbolizes war between people both politically and emotionally, and serves a reminder of Japan’s unfortunately high suicide rate. In another piece, “Impression of Death”, bad feelings and spirits ooze from a girl who seems to reach upwards, reborn. Takamatsu adds that his palette of monochromatic white and black was chosen as a metaphor for good and evil. Even his manner of combining a digital process with traditional painting (and hundreds of unseen sketches) emphasizes this juxtaposition. From such a technical and well-planned execution, we get a mystifying experience of Takamatsu’s own sensitivity.
“Spiral of Emotions” by Kazuki Takamatsu exhibits at CHG Circa from June 21 to July 12, 2014.