ALL IS FLUX, NOTHING STAYS STILL
By Meguru Yamaguchi
August 13 – September 27, 2015
+81 Gallery is pleased to announce a solo exhibition by Japanese artist Meguru Yamaguchi. Born and raised in Shibuya, Tokyo’s epicenter of youth culture with the famed crossing, and now working in Brooklyn, NY, Yamaguchi paints from the personal, weaving narrative, art history and contemporary technologies – like Cut & Paste and Facebook, Instagram, ad infinitum. Through this his works merge the virtual and the real together, and illuminate the urban cultural landscape.
Through the technique of what he calls “Cut & Paste,” Yamaguchi achieves a uniquely chaotic, vibrantly intense and visually robust abstraction on various surfaces. The method entails laying out paints on plastic sheets to dry, then peeling it off and pasting them onto another surface as if collaging to create shapeless shapes and formless forms. Through the process of layering and arrangement of the individual strips of paint, the seemingly unrelated colors converge to inexplicably compose a physiognomy or landscape; the subjects often sourced from the infinity of the Internet – taken from various social media. The spontaneity of the splattering paint and the freedom of the process conjures to mind Kazuo Shiraga from the Gutai movement, who painted with his feet in search of a new possibility of painting. If Shiraga’s work was about the body and the surface, having studied traditional Western painting and influenced by street culture, Yamaguchi’s work returns to investigate the brushstroke and the surface; the eternal subject in the new age. Cut & Paste is a drab and numbing function of our daily lives on multiple interfaces and software – but transferred to the visceral world of painting, it reveals a new vision of beauty.
Yamaguchi’s work is not only contained within the square of the canvas, but finds its expression on different surfaces, and even as different medium, even though he is decisively a painter. From murals to skateboard, t-shirt to multi-story department store, his practice consumes the notion of genre, swiftly traversing between the west and the east (as if what is east and west?), and trespasses on subculture, popular culture, and high culture with equal amount of gusto and eloquence maintaining absolute equilibrium through the multiple trajectories and crossroads. Analogously, Cut & Paste represents the ways in which his hometown Tokyo produces its own identity; through extraction, layering and merging different cultures from the globe and composing its idiosyncratic self. In addition to the paintings, the exhibition includes sculptures, his photographic collaboration with Akimoto Fukuda, and painted BMX bike. “ALL IS FLUX, NOTHING STAYS STILL” offers an expanded view of the painter Meguru Yamaguchi in the process of evolution, in flux, who continues to respond to the age-old question of the new painting, and that it is, in fact, still possible.