Tadanori Yokoo Exhibition

Friedman Benda

poster for Tadanori Yokoo Exhibition

This event has ended.

A towering influence on the evolution and iconography of Japanese contemporary art, Yokoo has straddled the boundaries of commercial and fine art since the 1960s. His brilliance lies in his ability to weave mass imagery into complexly layered pictorial tableaux that trigger collective and personal memories.

Yokoo’s appropriation of imagery and initial emergence during the American pop movement has linked his work to artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein but it is his ever-evolving stylistic agility that has enabled him to captivate, communicate, and remain relevant to an enormous popular audience for over a half century.

A central figure in the Tokyo avant-garde, Yokoo’s highly accessible poster and graphic work was universally recognized as were his collaborations with most of Japan’s best-known underground personalities including filmmaker Akiro Kurosawa and the writer Yukio Mishima. With them and in his own right, he upset mainstream trends and championed subversity in an entire generation of dancers, poets, and visual artists.

Friedman Benda’s exhibition will highlight selections from a number of important bodies of work that incite a sense of cosmic wonder and universal consciousness, and speak to the potential for spiritual transformation through art. The paintings are animated and painterly, and proliferate with non-sequential imagery, derived from sources ranging from childhood dreams, personalized fears and impressions of his often imaginary indigenous landscape as well as Japanese historical and western classical painting. By dissolving notions of time and conjuring notions of other worlds, he merges the real with the imagined and activates the imagination of the viewer with his surreal, kaleidoscopic realities.

With the “Y-junctions,” Yokoo presents dimly-lit, distorted renderings of pedestrian crossroads in order to raise greater metaphysical questions about life. These paintings are poetic renderings of light and color that bring a sublime beauty to even the most mundane of urban landscapes. In his “red paintings,” he sets figures in unidentified fire-hot environments, where the seeming incandescence produces an effect at once haunting and optimistic. The “bathhouse series” references a traditional Japanese scene but so thoroughly loads the works with conflated imagery that the vernacular is rendered unrecognizeable.

This is the first American gallery exhibition for Japanese artist, Tadanori Yokoo. The exhibition will show the largest group of paintings and installation work seen outside of Japan since the Fondation Cartier exhibition in Paris, 2005. Most of the works are coming to Friedman Benda direct from Museum exhibitions in Setagaya in Tokyo, and Hyogo in Kobe. Tadanori Yokoo is curated by Eric Shiner. On Friday night September 12, Shiner will interview Yokoo at the Japan Society, open to the public.



from September 10, 2008 to October 18, 2008

Opening Reception on 2008-09-11 from 18:00 to 21:00


Tadanori Yokoo

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