Keiichi Tanaami TANAAMI'S BEAUTY PARADE
2004.6.14 - 7.10
Gallery Naruyama presents paintings from the mid 1960's to the early 70's by renowned artist Tanaami Keiichi, in an exhibition titled "Tanaami's Beauty Parade".
Tanaami’s Beauty Parade, what a fascinating title! This exhibition will surely be a scandal! In this exhibition Keiichi Tanaami bares his true face which he has kept hidden under his mask.
Tanaami, who began his artistic activities in the early 60’s is widely known for the following: graphics embodying the psychedelic world of the 60’s, experimental structure films and animations in the 70’s, pictorial works suggesting his obsessional adherence to pinetrees and goldfish in the 80’s, and collaborations with the fashion brand Mary Quant and with rock band Super Car, in recent years.
However, the paintings presented in this exhibition digs into the unknown; they have been sealed by the artist himself and very rarely seen up until now.
Why has he kept this wonderful paradise under the seal? Brigitte Bardot, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor,and Jane Fonda--the residents of this paradise are actresses who have since become a legend, captivating the entire world when Tanaami was working with their image. The term film actress had the resonance of something truly special, almost supernatural. Residing on the other side of the sliver screen (such an antiquated expression!), film stars were quite distant from the reality of the general public. They were icons of the times: their name symbolized everything and anything they were. With the sublime acme of yearning and obsession, he has made these actresses into the residents of his imaginary Utopia: Marilyn Monroe licking her ice cream with open legs; bare-breasted Brigitte Bardot seduces Mickey Mouse with a wink; Jane Fonda turning herself into a bird.
From these images, one can only imagine the artist joyously immersed in his land of fascination. What were his reasons for not opening the doors to this incredible show?
Keiichi Tanaami has always composed and recomposed his own work, regarding them as memories of the past. He has been active across many mediums, from painting, sculpture, visual graphics to film, and owes his distinct aura of peculiarity to this editorial style of working. And yet, the works presented in Tanaami's Beauty Parade, were not reflected upon nor used as elements in his other works. The answer may be quite simple; the works are candid.
Always considering the atmosphere of the times, Tanaami has always remained the cool observer. It may be his certain shyness about expressing his true self, that kept these paintings in the attic. He must have painted these works innocently, with pure indulgence.
The Keiichi Tanaami we thought we knew, was only his mask.