Went to a spectacular show at the Nerima Art Museum, in Tokyo's suburbs: a retrospective of Ikeda Tatsuo, a top artist of the postwar Japanese avant-garde. I am interested in Ikeda's work for two reasons. One, he did a number of drawings and paintings related to US bases issues, the Lucky Dragon incident, and nuclear arms proliferation in the 50s and 60s. Second, he is an essential figure for exploring the historical intersections between high art and manga. Well before Lichtenstein’s popularity urged rising Pop stars like Tanaami Keiichi and Yokoo Tadanori to explore their childhood love for comics in the mid-late 60s, a variety of visual artists were interested in how to apply the aesthetics of satirical cartooning (not paneled comics) to create politically-engaged figurative art in the 50s. Most of them were based in Tokyo, and began their careers either as Left-sympathetic surrealists in the 30s or under the influence of such people in the early postwar period. In 1956, poet and critic Takiguchi Shuzo described this kind of work as "black cartooning" (kuroi manga), as opposed to "white cartooning" made in the service of the mass media and its conservative values. Among his examples of the former were Ikeda's pen drawings, Okamoto Taro's paintings, and On Kawara's paintings (before On became a famous conceptual artist). Ikeda mixed with avant-garde cartooning groups and contributed to their self-published chapbooks, including Ganma (1956-57) and COO (1958) shown here, scanned from a two-page section in the exhibition catalog titled "Ikeda Tatsuo and Manga." This history does not end with the eclipsing of socialist-surrealism after the 50s. Ishiko Junzo, an important art and manga critic of the 60s and 70s, began his career by writing about such forms of cartooning and editing a magazine of a similar sort. "Black manga" is thus a key moment in the history of both Japanese comics and art. I would love to write about it, but as I am buried under commitments for the foreseeable future, I suspect an art historian's art historian will get to the topic before I do. #tatsuoikeda#池田龍雄#beigunbunka#練馬区立美術館#manga
A face cannot be painted - it must emerge from the picture plane. That is, you must paint it not as something that it is there, but as something that is not there something that emerges for the first time through the act of seeing.