Solo Exhibition of Shinjiro Okamoto:
The Pioneer of Japanese Pop Art
展 期 Duration｜2020.8.15 - 9.30
开 幕 Opening｜2020.8.15 3:00pm
地 点 Venue｜東京画廊+BTAP
Tokyo Gallery+BTAP is honoured to announce the forthcoming solo exhibition of the Japanese artist, Shinjiro Okamoto, which will take place from 15th August to 30th September 2020. Six sets of works by the artist from the 1950s will be displayed in the BTAP gallery space, including the Ten Indians series which was awarded Grand Prize at ‘The Museum of Contemporary Art Nagaoka Prize’ exhibition in 1964, the Insect World series shown in the 1966 solo exhibition at Tokyo Gallery, as well as the Cherry Blossom series from the 1980s that reflects on war. This exhibition offers a retrospective overview of the artistic career of Shinjiro Okamoto after the artist’s decease earlier this year.
Shinjiro Okamoto is a widely acclaimed pioneer of Japanese Pop Art, despite personally never having identified with this moniker bestowed upon him by outside observers. I believe this might have to do with the complex versatility of his art, which has made it difficult for some to understand the full scale of his achievements. Two ideas can be teased from Okamoto’s own description below on the complex features of his art: “In the Japanese literary world, you’ve got the Akutagawa Prize for fine literature (or belles lettres), and then there’s the Naoki Prize for popular literature. A middle ground between the two has also been established. My paintings run the gamut of all of these categories. Or perhaps they reflect on everything from a transcendent vantage point.” His works have been called “paintings to be observed and read”, as they comprise a huge amount of information. The sophistication of his paintings lies in their biting sense of humor, as well as the numerous ingenious pitfalls they contain. The two-dimensional lines and surfaces and gaudy color palette reveal a breadth of information that is cohesive yet paradoxical.
Born in 1933, Shinjiro Okamoto’s childhood coincided with post-war Japan’s era of rapid changes. Overnight, the USA and Britain – the “demon allied forces” as they had previously been called – became idealized states revered by the entire population. That which had been considered righteousness in the past, was now regarded as evil. Still at an impressionable age, the young artist experienced a full-fledged reversal of social values as well as the people’s disillusionment of the reality they had previously regarded as true. This ended up influencing his later artistic creations at a fundamental level. A case in point was his critical attitude towards his times and society; his doubt and estrangement vis-à-vis mainstream values; his expressive modalities, which stemmed from the fact that he saw so-called ‘reality’ as a mere impression of something that was in fact ‘absent’; and lastly his fictionalizing treatment of real objects. He was at once conventional and profound. The ambiguity of his oeuvre’s content, as well as the artist’s foothold in secular society while at the same time distancing himself from ordinary ideas, are inherently related to the life-changing psychological impact he underwent during his formative childhood years. His profoundly nihilistic critique and complex, paradoxical thematic coverage stem from his earliest experiences reflecting on mankind and society.
Shinjiro Okamoto’s outstanding artistic contribution lies in his innovative use of a novel, critical style of painting which differed from the types of painting and manga that prevailed at the time. His painterly explorations, which combined manga and modern art, provided inspiration and references for his successors. In the early 1960’s, the artist had already received various art prizes with his original brand of art. His works eventually made their way into noteworthy international art institutions such as New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Kunsthaus Zürich. It’s safe to say his pioneering contributions to the art world cannot go unnoticed. Following Okamoto’s passing in the spring of this year, Tokyo Gallery has put together a commemorative exhibition. As a good friend who is quite familiar with the particulars of his personal life, I am also taking part in the exhibition. It is my hope that this exhibition will lay the groundwork for further delving into the complex nuances and indubitable value of Okamoto’s art.
Wang Shuye – August, 2020
冈本信治郎，1933年生于东京。1952年毕业于都立日本桥高等学校，成为东京凸版印刷有限公司设计师（后在此担任26年的艺术总监）。在此期间，他开始自学水彩画，先后在日本水彩画展和二纪展等展览上展出作品。1956年于村松画廊初次举办个展，同年，他与吉田吉惠等人共同创办了“制作会议”艺术小组。乔治·修拉的新印象派作品启发冈本使用明亮、生动的色彩和简单的形式来描绘当代的疾病和不安。1956年，冈本在“读卖 Independent展”展出作品，并在1962年和1963年的“Shell艺术奖展”中获佳作奖，1964年再获首届长冈现代美术馆奖展的大奖。在此期间，冈本信治郎发表包括《圣风景》和《十个印度人》等这些有着滑稽形象但背后却蕴藏着无限空虚感的画作，并相继在日本和国外的几家博物馆展出了他的作品。1964年，冈本信治郎参展了在京都国家现代艺术博物馆举办的“现代美术动向”展览。1965年参展了在苏黎世美术馆举办的“现代日本美术15人展”、纽约现代艺术博物馆（MoMA）举办的“新日本绘画雕塑展”。1968年，冈本在日本协会的邀请下访问了美国，游览了纽约、美国其他城市以及欧洲并进行巡回展出。1969年，他在“当代日本艺术”展览中获得前沿奖。从1979年开始，冈本信治郎还举办过多次个展：1979年在池田20世纪美术馆举办“冈本信治郎的世界——25年之记录”；1998年在新泻市美术馆举办个展“冈本信治郎的世界展览——东京少年”；1998年在神奈川显立近代美术馆举办个展“冈本信治郎展——笑的宇宙全景馆”；2001年在池田20世纪美术馆举办个展“冈本信治郎——笑的雪月花（翻滚的樱花）”；2008年在東京画廊 + BTAP（北京）举办个展“冈本信治郎的宇宙全景馆（笑的哲学1950-2001)”。自此，冈本信治郎作为日本波普艺术先驱艺术家为大家熟知。2020年4月，冈本信治郎在日本镰仓因病去世，享年86岁。
东京都中央区银座8-10-5第四秀和大厦7层7F, 8-10-5 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo104-0061 Japan
北京市朝阳区酒仙桥路4号798艺术区内陶瓷三街E02Ceramics Third Street, 798 Art ZoneE024 Jiu Xian Qiao, Rd., Chao YangDistrict, Beijing