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Yutokutaishi Akiyama & Kotobuki Shiriagari: Buriki no Hakobune
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Published: October 25 2011

Akiyama Yutokutaishi Meditation Object, Shiriagari Kotobuki Oyaji
Courtesy of the artist and Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art
Copyright © Akiyama Yutokutaishi, Shiriagari Kotobuki

Yutokutaishi Akiyama: avant-garde pioneer and pacesetter
Kotobuki Shiriagari: popular cartoonist with a stream of topical output

Starting with his "Darico" events, Yutokutaishi Akiyama (b. 1935) has presented a series of “pop happening” performances since the 1960s. He is particularly well known for standing in the Tokyo gubernatorial elections of 1975 and '79, his election posters for which can be found in museum collections nationwide. Meanwhile he has also produced a series of pieces sculpted from tinplate and modeled on figures from barons to Buddhas. Akiyama's output remains as prolific as ever and includes in recent years the publication of essays and unveiling of new works in tin.

After graduating from Tama Art University, Kotobuki Shiriagari (b. 1958) worked in package design, advertising and promotion for one of Japan's major breweries, making his debut as a cartoonist in 1985 with the manga Erekina Haru (Electric Spring). Earning a reputation as the creator of a new type of gag manga with a strong parody element, after striking out on his own in 1994 he released a series of comics portraying an absurd, eschatological world, and while continuing to pursue a highly original direction as a manga artist, in recent years he has widened his creative scope to encompass areas as diverse as essay-writing, video and art.

And now, a joint exhibition by two artists crossing paths for the first time!
Could this collaboration transcending genres and generations give rise to a miracle?!

Buriki no Hakobune (Tin Ark) offers viewers the chance to savor in a single show the careers of Yutokutaishi Akiyama and Kotobuki Shiriagari: Akiyama's tinplate sculptures and paintings plus his numerous happenings, ranging from the very earliest years of his career to the present day; and Shiriagari's ink drawing installations, plus his Yurumation videos and the Kotobuki Shiriagari History Museum.

In addition, the Buriki no Hakobune exhibit space, a joint effort by the pair, will combine old and new works to offer salvation and spiritual repose in ways unique to these two artists. Shiriagari will present several of his Yurumation pieces including a new work focusing on the huge tsunami that hit north-eastern Japan in March, while Akiyama's offerings will include Meditation Object, inspired by a hexagonal Rokkakudo arbor swept away by the tsunami, plus tinplate sculptures on the themes of loss and prayer. Thus Akiyama and Shiriagari declare the approaches available to artists tackling the difficult circumstances confronting Japan after the disaster, and, it could be said, offer salvation of a sort as portrayed by two artists who have consistently employed humor and parody to engage with society.

* The text provided by Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art.

Period:  Saturday October 29, 2011 - Monday January 9, 2012
Venue: Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art

Last Updated on October 29 2011

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