Introducing Japanese artist Makiko Kudo

I’ve had more things to do than I’ve had time to blog about them recently, so I apologise in advance for the next couple of blog posts which will tell you about exhibitions which have now closed. Where possible, I try to blog about things as they are happening so that, if you’re in London too, you can also check them out.

From 2nd March to 15th April, the Wilkinson Gallery in London had an exhibition of work by Japanese artist Makiko Kudo.

Makiko Kudo

Makiko Kudo was born in 1978 in Aomori Prefecture, Japan. She lives and works in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. Recent solo exhibitions include Mark Foxx Gallery, Los Angeles (2011); Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo (2007) and Anderson’s Contemporary, Copenhagen (2010). In 2009 Kudo was included in the acclaimed exhibition; ‘Winter Garden: The Exploration of the Micropop Imagination in Contemporary Japanese Art’, curated by Midori Matsui at Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo which then toured to Japanisches Kulturinstitut, Cologne, Germany in 2009; The Japan Foundation, Toronto Canada in 2010 and Galeri’a Arnold Belkin, Museo Universitario del Chopo, Mexico City, Mexico in 2011. Makiko’s work is included in international collections worldwide; Modern Art Museum, Fort Worth; Olbricht Collection; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and the Takahashi Collection, Tokyo.

Makiko Kudo

After a Typhoon, 2011

I like Kudo’s paintings, and found them full of imagination and innocence, in a child-like way. Looking at the faces Kudo paints, you can’t help but notice an echo of manga and Japanese culture.

Makiko Kudo

Born in the Spring (detail), 2012

According to the information I read about Kudo’s work at the Wilkinson Gallery, her “introversive escapism is an active means of resistance against a depressed national economy and the unyielding social structures that defined Japan in the late 20th Century.” Apparently, “Kudo’s decision to revert into the bodies of these recurring impish figures can be equated with her generation’s resistance against the constraints of adulthood and perceived loneliness of such autonomy and social conformity. This was an artistic, as well as cultural, revolt against what was seen to be the uninspired perspective of the former generation.”

I’m no expert on art, so I can only quote what I’ve read and say what I like. I like these paintings because they remind me of dreams and childhood fantasies, and they take me somewhere. If I had been familiar with Japanese culture when I was a child, I imagine my dream worlds would have looked something like the scenes depicted in these paintings.

Makiko Kudo

Stage Curtain (detail), 2011

Makiko Kudo

Red Fruits You Cannot Eat, 2012

2 thoughts on “Introducing Japanese artist Makiko Kudo

  1. I love the whimsy and sadness put together. Her subjects looking so gloomy speaks to me. 😦 Before I even read the description I was thinking about the children who we used to be, who didn’t really get to live like children for very long. I like the theme of resisting adulthood and conformity. 🙂

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    • Yeah, something about these pictures really spoke to me too. The last one of the kid on the roof reminded me of the coal bunker I used to sit on when I was a kid. I used to sit there and dream up fantasy stories with horses and princesses. 😉

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