Lehmann Maupin Gallery will present the first New York solo exhibition of the artist Mr., whose work typically examines Otaku culture in Japan with cartoonish, anime-like two- and three-dimensional representations of joyful adolescents. For this exhibition, the gallery will be filled with large-scale, intricate paintings and sculptures, the largest of which will be an imagined environment within the oversized head of one of the artist’s euphoric girls.
The Otaku subculture emerged in Japan in the 1970s and consisted mostly of males who were consumed by manga comics, anime animation, sci-fi literature and video games. Mr.’s large-eyed characters and flat color fields are influenced by this movement and its Lolita-esque fascination with adolescents. The cheerful boys with their pants down and girls in short skirts appear sexually provocative, asking the viewer to question whether the work is a comment on Otaku culture or an exploration of Mr.’s fantasy world.
Mr. lives and works in Saitama, just outside of Tokyo. He graduated from the Department of Fine Arts, Sokei Art School in Tokyo in 1996. Mr. was discovered by Takashi Murakami in 1995 and since then has been involved with Murakami’s art organization Kaikai Kiki, as both a represented artist and a pivotal staff member. Recently, Mr.’s work was on view at the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Lyon with fellow Kaikai Kiki artists Chiho Aoshima and Aya Takano. In 2005, he was included in the acclaimed exhibition Little Boy: The Arts of Japan’s Exploding Subculture at Japan Society in New York. Mr.’s work is represented in numerous public and private collections worldwide.
The exhibition will be on view from 3 May through 23 June 2007. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.