The Cartier Foundation in Paris has a knack for creating momentum: after the hit Murakami show back in 2002, a new Japanese artist is on the menu. This mischevious child at heart is no new kid on the block what with a massive following in his homecountry and across the world: meet Takeshi Kitano, the painter.
Unlike many contemporary Far Eastern directors, Takeshi Kitano has been enjoying a success that goes beyond a mere cult following. While not quite blockbusters his films are well-loved by all kinds of cinephiliacs, from action fans (the high-budget swordtastic Zatoichi) to dreamers (amongst the more oniric productions is the visually stunning Dolls). As a successful writer, director and actor it is clear that this is one talented Mr Kitano, and yet latest news from the Cartier Foundation in Paris seem to tell us there is more than originally met the eye; the Japanese know him as Beat Takeshi, an all-round artist and entertainer.
Taeshi Kitano is also a painter, a mighty good one. The style is somewhat very reminiscent of the naive school of art made popular by Henri Rousseau in the early 20th century. With a little Modigliani, Picasso and virtually every major modern art genre of the past few decades.
"Gosse de peintre presents an unexpected and captivating world in which the magical memories of childhood take center stage. Entering the funhouse, the visitor encounters an array of whimsical machines, fantastic creatures and strange objects, as well as paintings, films, and TV clips. To say nothing of falling prey to practical jokes." A mischevious approach to a tired old format - who wants to walk around draughty museums what with everything being online?
In "Beat" Kitano's words: "My attitude to art in general, and to contemporary art in particular, is that it doesn’t have to be serious. I want people who come to see my installations to just relax and enjoy, to have as much fun as I did when I created them."
"More than visitors at an exhibition, I want them to be participants. Why not have fun? With this exhibition, I was attempting to expand the definition of “art,” to make it less conventional, less snobby, more casual and accessible to everyone."
The show opens tomorrow and will be running for a few months well into the summer; further details are available online at the Fondation Cartier.
Source and credits: Fondation Cartier