Date: 6TH AUG – 29TH SEPT 2013


I stand in front of a colourful psychosis, an explosive dichotomy of past and future. My eyes are compulsively fixed to the canvas of a Keiichi Tanaam Painting, they have nowhere else to look. I feel as though I have taken an overdose of psychedelics and I briefly find myself  wanting to stare at the blank spaces between paintings .

Tanaami is one of the leading pop artists of post-war Japan, visually influenced by Warhol who he met in a visit to the USA in 1969, he has played a huge part in developing Japanese art.  In his work I see bridges. The bridge between his human life and eternal transcendence. This bridge is symbolic of Tanaami ‘s brief flirtation with the other side before he was sucked back in to his human body to face the famous Tokyo bombings of WW2. I also see demented doll like women, gurgling and bearing savagely large white teeth. They have wide Y shape spayed legs and are bent over to reveal cumbersome genitalia. This repertoire of disturbed figures came about during the artist’s period of illness, that he suffered from when he was 45. His (self?) medication caused him to hallucinate these wild and macabre chimeras that we see repeated in paintings today.

I see deformed fish-beings; you can tell the man is some form of genius. The gallery girl comes up with twisted stories of a young Keiichi playing and inadvertently damaging his grandfather’s pet fish. Forever mangled they swim in circles around the tank of his imagination into his work, preserved. The exhibition is his underground personal universe, a hybrid of dreams and memories. It is metaphor for a journey taken.

Tanaami’s paintings make you feel uncomfortable in their presence, like they are going to suck you any minute into some hyper-real harajuku void. Pop art cartoon infused with traditional Japanese Kabuki to create a kaleidoscope of colours, which leave a panic stricken impression on your slightly overwhelmed mind. I walk out the doors invigorated.

Tanaami has already exhibited in over five continents, and is featured in over 25 public institutions. The really cool thing about him though, is that he is also was the first Art Director of Japanese Playboy in 1975.


Above:An Adventurers Paradise, 201

Top of Page: Arched Bridge to Labyrinth, 2011



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