tokyo: passage in the air (1975-1993)

© keiichi tanaami / courtesy of the artist and nanzuka - exhibition setting

nothing short of an icon in japanese contemporary art, keiichi tanaami [1936] has been frantically active in graphic design, illustration, and fine arts since the 1960s, and he has established quite a reputation for seeking new ways to get his creative message across. to this very day he has appropriated the vast design technique of ‘compilation’ as he takes on experimental approaches in challenging themes. the artist's works created between the late 1970s to the 1980s could be described as a departure from the american pop-style he had developed earlier. during this period he had strengthened his interests towards concerns of mysticism and symbolism, and had produced an array of works in forms of wooden sculptures, paintings, and prints. what makes tanaami's work so intriguing is the hybrid and dynamic blend of references he uses, ranging from mere observations, to childhood memories and also a range of elements from abroad. nanzuka gallery in tokyo currently hosts passage in the air (1975-1993), the first chapter of an elaborate retrospective exhibition which puts tanaami's diverse creative output between the late 1970s and the early 1990s in a well-deserved spotlight [on through aug 8]. location: shibuya ibis building, 2-17-3-b1 shibuya [shibuya].

© keiichi tanaami / courtesy of the artist and nanzuka - tokiwa-matsu [1986] silk screen print on paper and ring and pole [1980] - wood, lacquer