One-Touch Time Machine!’

Geisai # 6 darling Erina Matsui has solo show

‘One-Touch Time Machine!’

Solo exhibition, ‘One-Touch Time Machine!’, by Erina Matsui is currently showing at the Yamamoto Gendai Gallery. She is a notable young artist who exhibits both in Japan and abroad, with her artwork included among the collection of the Fondation Cartier in Paris, France. Matsui’s works were made while still a student at an art prep school, and made a sensation of Geisai #6 and other art events. This is her first solo exhibit in Japan in two and a half years – in it old and new works are skilfully woven together, creating an extremely deep subject matter that thoroughly explores Matsui’s worldview.

The highlight of the show is ‘MEKARA UROKO de MEDETAI!’, which was exhibited in her graduation exhibition at the Tokyo University of the Arts (Graduate School of Fine Arts). The painting on fusuma (Japanese sliding doors) depicts an assortment of fish and other marine life spilling out from the sea and across a number of stars floating in space. Jumbled in with all of this is a self-portrait that is reminiscent of Ume Kayo’s ‘funny faces’ photographs, though instead of a tongue protruding from the wide-open mouth there is a sun. The axolotl salamander character Wooper Looper and various other cartoony characters find their way into different corners of the painting.

Matsui’s tendency to intermingle her surrounding environment with living creatures, the world and the universe as if they are encroaching upon them is also evident in the other works on display. It is all very reminiscent of Stan Brakhage’s ‘Dog Star Man’. But while Brakhage’s work is characterized by the viewer feeling like the micro-and- macrocosms are whirring around and around at full speed, Matsui’s strength lies in her characters – the depictions of herself included. Her characters could represent her relationships with other people as she grapples with how to coexist peacefully. Or perhaps the characters represent icons, which she cannot quite grasp, and it is through these that she sets about trying to bring a cheerful world view to her artwork. In any case, Erina Matsui is not at a loss for ideas.

You might feel a bit of culture shock, or have the nagging feeling that she is just imitating some 80s pop singer, but in a good way. When the unpleasant feelings that you get when looking at the amphibians that from time to time appear in her works start to subside, it may just be that you have finally reached a sort of coexistence with someone far, far away.

Erina Matsui: ‘One-Touch Time Machine!’
Location: Yamamoto Gendai Gallery
Date: Until Sat May 1
Address: 3-1-15 Shirokane, Minato, Tokyo
Open: Tue-Sat 11am-7pm, closed Sun, Mon and nat. holidays
Telephone: (03)6383 0626

By Kotaro Okazawa
Translated by E. Kavanagh
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.



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