Aida Makoto: Monument for Nothing

Controversial artist Aida Makoto is known for being an anti-conformist: if you are not familiar with his work, you definitely should check out this exhibit, and be prepared for it to blow you away.

Erotic, explicit, sexual, grotesque… all those words have previously described Aida’s art work. Present on the international scene for the past two decades, the Niigata prefecture native has brought a critical perspective on such subjects as Japan, the United States, history, tradition, manga, war, salarymen, pretty young girls, art and Japan’s education system.

The artist has often challenged the accepted wisdom, attitudes and customs that have been unanimously and unconsciously shared by Japanese society, and graphically exposed its taboos and contradictions.

Aida Makoto AZEMICHI (a path between rice fields) 1991

Aida Makoto AZEMICHI (a path between rice fields) 1991. Japanese mineral pigment, acrylic on Japanese paper mounted on panel 73 x 52 cm Collection: Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Aichi. Courtesy: Mizuma Art Gallery

Some of his most famous work depicts uniform-clad school girls plunging samurai swords into their stomachs, disemboweling themselves, and slicing off their own heads, in order to represent the dark state of Japanese society back in the nineties.

Aida’s most provocative work includes a painting the firebombing of New York by Japanese airplanes and videoing himself performing auto-erotic activities.

The exhibition will look back on Aida’s career and feature his most well known work, such as the large painting of naked girls in a huge bloody blender.

There is sexually explicit content in a designated room suited for visitors over the age of 18. The artist has been updating his Facebook page with all the steps leading to the exhibit, so it’s worth taking a look.

If you like unique exhibits and controversial subject matter, this could be a good chance to view and discuss those images, and think outside the box.

Aida Makoto: Monument for Nothing

When: Nov. 17- March 31, 2013

Where: Mori Art Museum

How much: ¥1500 (¥1000 students)

Main Image: Aida Makoto, No One Knows the Title (War Picture Returns) 1996. Four-panel folding screens / enamel, vinyl tablecloth on fusuma (sliding door), hinges 178.4 × 272.4 cm Private collection. Courtesy: Mizuma Art Gallery.

Text by Vivian Morelli