Zoer and Velvet were back in Tokyo for their newest installation and project “BLAS” put together by Kaikai Kiki Gallery. Takashi Murakami who has curated the artists recent Exhibition at Geisai wrote an important statement about the artists and the installation that I have shared with you below as it hits home and delivers key points.
“Building upon the desire for creative freedom which was the dominant mood among my generation – the generation who are now the professors, tutors, and mentors – they have carried out, without an actual educational foundation, a haphazard rejection of figurative drawing/painting and developed a bland imitation of conceptual thinking. The results of that education are now out in the clear and as for myself, I reject them completely. Technique is very important, especially when we consider that the genesis of the act of creation itself, and the process of mastering it is extremely demanding. The artistic training necessary for the areas of painting and sculpture in which I work relies a lot on physical labor and if one approaches that with an IT mindset, the atmosphere becomes one of trying to eliminate that labor, but in my mind, the opposite is essential. It’s also worth noting that the type of people who end up proceeding down the path of IT and those who pursue art are fundamentally different in their compositions.
Be it singing, rap, dance, or any other kind of art, the focus on technique is absolute and the ability of the artist to move beyond that realm is the true test. Moving straight to the essence of art without first going down this road is quite difficult. It is, in essence, a difference of whether one can bring one’s brain to a state of awakening with dedicated training or one has to depend on chemical stimulants.
As I call myself a painter of a sort, I enjoy looking at paintings and I keep day dreaming about the future of the art form. And in the French pair Zoer & Velvet, I have encountered, for the first time in a while, artists with an old-fashionedly cumbersome process. In stark contrast to their garish, gangster-like position as graffiti artists, their paintings are done in an aloof, straight-forward, time consuming manner. They do nothing but paint. And in doing so over time, their technique has developed considerably. And backed up by that technique, the motifs they choose and methods they employ are always well thought out.
For years I ran the art event GEISAI in an attempt to connect with those emerging from Japanese art universities, but in the end, that link was all but severed. It can’t be helped. But there must also be a minority of young people who cannot connect with the reality of their peers and it is to them who I now send this message – You are not wrong!
The art I believe in can only be accomplished through training. And to that small number of young artists who continue to pile hour upon hour of work on their craft, I ask you to come and visit Zoer & Velvet’s show, open until August 29. Even if a trip to Tokyo is necessary, it will be worth your money!” Takashi Murakami
All Photos are courtesy of Kaikai Kiki Gallery
“BLAS is an almost 360° landscape, an island, a puzzle of several realities, an uncontextualised picture of the world. Its is kitsch somehow to depict kind of realistic scenes. We wanted to paint in a some parts figurative way ,spending lot of time doing it ( almost 1 month of 12hours-a-day painting and logistics with oil painting and small brushes ), to create an hyper reality, not an hyper realistic scene at all. Hyper reality is this gigantic technical work that intends to end the natural world in every shape and form.The consumption of the pictures, the consumption of the news, the increasing feeling of virtuality with which the life is depicted, gave us the way we thought was the best to express these ideas .
The island of the seventh mountains and the hundred signs. This painted piece called Ex Materia, shows a land,an accidental island theatre where the remains are considered as relics. An island where elements meet, and souls and objects are washed ashore on an uprooted land. In this environment, we cannot tell the difference between reality and virtuality, illusion and sham of hyper reality. This apocalyptic scenario, where the catastrophe-movie precedes the drama, is the choice of a critical look upon the world. It’s an attempt to decript the complex chemistry of beings, their individual resolution, their collective aim, maybe even absolute. On this island, the protagonists attempt to gather the multiple rejections and signs’s fragments, jumbled and deprived of their cultural identity, washed up by the void, with the aim of understanding which reality preceded them and begin building on ashes.”