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Nara Yoshitomo: Lullaby Supermarket
ISBN 4048533363 / 9784048533362 / 4-04-853336-3
Publisher Kadokawa Shoten
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At first sight, the childlike figures for which Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara is now famous seem altogether cute and appealing. On closer examination his creations are robust, angry and vulnerable creatures, standing up defiantly to the world of adults--self-confident, stubborn and sometimes violent. Nara's work is influenced by Japanese comic books but he is unique in the contemporary art scene for tapping into horror through the medium of the innocent child--this is particularly poignant in Japan's controlled society of rigid language and social structures, especially considering recent shockingly violent crimes in Japan involving children as the aggressors. Nara's work instills the viewer with a juxtaposition of the innocence of children and the evil nature of humanity, or the fall from grace. Like Kurt Cobain's music, Nara's Pop art, too, aims to lend expression to his generation's concerns, encouraging it to meet the constraints of high achievement. Self-determination, individuality, and freedom are themes that infuse Nara's voice that is clearly heard in Japan and America, where the dividing line between "low" and "high" culture is less stringently drawn than in Europe. In addition to Nara's signature paintings, sculptures, and drawings; (poems and diary entries by the artist); this 204-page book includes texts by the art critic Stephan Trescher and the Japanese cult author Banana Yoshimoto. [via]