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Yamataka Eye’s Stawad: An extension of Abstract Art or Japanese Contemporary Art?

Yamatake Eye, otherwise known as Tetsurō Yamatsuka, is a Japanese visual artist and vocalist, probably best known as a member of the experimental band the Boredoms. His piece entitled Stawad, 2008, is part of a series of mixed media drawn collages based on an abstract story he wrote about a man who has been frozen since the Ice Age and his pet dinosaur; it represents a storyboard of the mans previous life. This childlike theme can be easily seen within his work, as well as taking much influence from psychedelia, music and the Japanese culture. Artistically his influences come from a variety of areas, most notably from movements in the late 19th century through to the early 20th century like Impressionism, and more abstract movements like Dada, Futurism; and more particularly I think Rayonnism. It’s the vibrant, almost fluorescent colours that bring a childlike quality to his work and it’s the sharp, defined lines that slice through the image splitting the colours that bare a resemblance to abstract and futurist work; maybe more specifically artists Wassily Kandinsky and Mikhail Larionov. I think it’s the structure and organization within their work which the aforementioned artists share. The Japanese influence in Yamataka Eye’s work is clearly apparent. One aspect of this is the narrative that’s attached to his Stawad series, something that has been common in traditional Japanese and Oriental art for centuries. The lines and geometric shapes that are frequent within his collage pieces further expand upon the Japanese influence as they depict forms in motion and when proportioned it can give off a certain rhythm; this attaching it to the idea of the correlation between visual art and music, something that Eye greatly believes in. Stawad is a very busy and complex piece to look at, but seems fluent within the forms and shapes; along with the colours complementing each other in a frenzy of tone. The geometric forms which lye within the image bear a resemblance to Cubist, Futurist and Rayonist work. Ultimately, Eye uses ideas and techniques from both western and eastern movements. When asked in an interview, for Dazed & Confused magazine, if his work was specifically Japanese he replied, “I’ve never


pistachio green.the frantically green lawns. blue. ‘The Evolution of Abstract Painting’. 70.”2 Writing about a Moscow sunset. and Eye certainly contributes to this ideology through his own visual and musical work. p.-This is merely the final chord of the symphony. “I believe I can find something between sight and hearing and I can produce a fugue in colours.”1 Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky was one of a few artists between the late 1800’s and early 1900’s that analysed the relationship between art. Gardiner (Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego. But I think my style of work is worldwide. yellow. the flaming red houses. white. believing that sound and vision complement each other as a pair. ‘Yamataka Eye’. “For EYE objects in the natural world have sounds that change when they are interfered with.. the act of making artworks becomes a musical experience whereby as he cuts and pastes he is changing the sounds of his materials and being energized in the process. each representing a sound or noise.html. Dazed & Confused. ‘The Evolution of Abstract Painting’. Vol. colour. no. Rayonnism. Pink.”4 It appears to me that music and sound has its part to play in the development of abstract art. Rayonnism.really thought about it like that. 4 František Kupka. as Bach has done in music. which. 3 Oliver Watson. tone and form with music and sound. Oliver Watson wrote in one online article. working towards the creation of a scene that one takes in with ones whole being. 1971). (http://www. Yamataka Eye shares a similar outlook to Kandinsky in that he believes that the forms. Henry G. like the fortissimo of a gigantic orchestra. Orphism. he reversed the relationship between music and art. 1971). “It melts down the whole of Moscow into a single puddle. The abstract explosion of shapes. ‘Eye of the Storm’. Synchromism and the Blue Rider. one’s soul vibrating .com/events/FRIEZE08/FRIEZE08. Color & Form 1909-1914: The origin and evolution of abstract painting in Futurism. Orphism. Gardiner (Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego. which make all Moscow vibrate. February 2009. p. Henry G. 8.”3 A similar view is also shared by František Kupka who said. lavender. which brings each colour to supreme life. 2008). like a mad bass tuba sets all one’s inwardness. Wassily Kandinsky. objects and colours correlate to music. Synchromism and the Blue Rider. He once stated.magicalartroom. 9. II. but that’s interesting. Color & Form 1909-1914: The origin and evolution of abstract painting in Futurism. 2 . form and colour create 1 2 Yamataka Eye. the churches – each an independent song. the deeper tones of the trees. Its Kandinsky’s Great Fugue painting and Improvisation pieces that remind me of Eye’s mixed media collage drawings.

among other Eastern European artists. However. What I find clever about Stawad is the fact that it is a visual assemblage of many shapes. The imagery. structures and forceful colour and each time I gaze at the piece something new appears. His work appears electric and full of energy. quick diagonal cuttings in Stawad are very similar to the streaks and lines found in Larionov’s Rayonnist and The Cockerel paintings. Eye shares a certain sharpness and almost aggressive energy with Larionov. such as Kupka and Jawlensky. Geometric patterns and decorations were a common theme in Eastern parts of the world. Eye translates this in his own way. striking image that bursts into life when observed. has more of a cartoon like appearance to it. For me it’s the rawness. maybe making it more appealing to younger experimental take on oil painting. it is truly a unique take on the idea of collage and is well controlled amongst the chaos that is shown within. and Pop with a slight essence of traditional Japanese culture mixed with contemporary styles. forms. however intense and electric. but for me there isn’t much significance within Stawad. brought this motif into their own work and converted it into Abstract creation. Eye’s Stawad is an abstract. organization and even technical ability that separates the early abstract pioneers from the more contemporary styles that Eye practices. not only by the choice of his media and method but by attaching it to more modern ideologies and manner. for example the sharp. something that was unnoticed on previous engagements with the work. psychedelic mix of Futurism. typically around Russian provinces. Kandinsky. I have no doubt that Eye has contributed to the development of abstract art. Each collage from this series has this effect and can leave the viewer in a dazed state. seeming far more intense than Kandinsky and Larionov’s work. The piece is a really vibrant. which to me suggests a sense of immaturity crossed with the colourful tones of anime comics and cartoons from Japanese pop culture. 3 . Rayonnism. Sound. narrow.

stylusmagazine. 1972). http://www. Vol. Read.Bibliography: 1. Orphism. 6. Herbert. Color & Form 1909-1914: The origin and evolution of abstract 3. 1976). Daulte. II. Orlandi. Yamataka Eye. 1978). Synchromism and the Blue Rider (San Diego: Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego.magical-artroom. http://www. Larionov – Gontcharova: Rétrosepective (Brussels: Musée D’ Enzo. The Meaning of Art (London: Faber & Faber. painting in Futurism. Dazed & Confused. Rayonnism. Gardiner. ‘Eye of the Storm’.html Image Credit: 8. Inc. 5. François. February 2009. 7. 4. 1971). 70. Henry G.html 4 . La Belle Époque: Fifteen Euphoric Years of European History (New York: William Morrow and Company. no.