Longtime followers of Japanese artist Kazuki Takamatsu may already know his process: painstaking gouache layers that recreate scenes first imagined on 3-D computer software. Yet, in his latest set of striking paintings at the Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles, the otherworldy nature of Takamatsu’s work is what again draws viewers into this haunted world of hologram-like characters. The solo show “Decoration Armament” opens this Saturday, and it features some of the HF Vol. 33 cover artist’s most ambitious and engrossing work yet.
In a statement, Takamatsu explains the show’s title: “I love the concept of people using ‘decorations.’ I believe when people wear makeup, tattoos, dress up, or even work out, they are enhancing their uniqueness, changing themselves for the better—they become more noble, confident, strong and beautiful than before and they achieve a boldness as if they were wearing armor. On the other hand, such beautification can represent a sort of inferiority complex, where we are using them to hide our insecurities.”
One of the kinetic pieces in the show shares that name—and its anime-style subject embodies Takamatsu’s charge above. As intricate architecture and flora encircle her, she wields a machine gun behind her back. The “What Do I Get Next” shows another side of Takamatsu, in which he mixes the alluring with the haunting, simplifying the usual, layered backdrops for a sole focus. This is a method that calls back to his previous work, which last appeared on Hi-Fructose here. “Decoration Armament” is on view through May 21.