We were at Galerie Perrotin openings in both Tokyo and Hong Kong for KAWS this past week, as the Brooklyn-based artist showcased a new series of paintings in both locations. First, we take a look at KAWS's show at Perrotin's Tokyo space, that not only feature the artist's most abstract works to date, but also a star-studded crowd that welcomed an artist that has made a huge name for himself in Japan after over decades of collaborations.
In Tokyo, KAWS presented 6 new works, with one large work taking up the entirety of the front gallery. At first, the work appears to be large swaths of abstraction, with beautiful color arrangements being covered with black line work. But after spending time with the work, looking into each of the three panels, some of the signature KAWS subjects begin to emerge. When we sat down with the artist on the morning of the opening, he talked about how chaotic and busy his life has been, with numerous musuem shows and sculpture presentations and collaborations with UNIQLO over the past few years, that the chaos has begun to make its way on his canvases. Hidden underneath the heavy black lines is his signature Snoopy character, eyeballs and XX's that remain staples in his more figurative works. In the gallery's second room, KAWS presented a series of smaller circular works, as well as two medium-sized paintngs, one of which, with its oblonged and mishappen canvas was one of our favorite works by the artist. Again, this particular work was layered and layered with familar characters and color patterns.
After a recent trip to Doha, Qatar, where KAWS found the final resting home for one of his massive, wooden "Small Lie" sculptures, this particular series of paintings in Tokyo (and Hong Kong, recap later) are full of a density that the quiet, captivating sculptures become a polar opposite to. Where "Smalle Lie" represents an almost nostalgic, almost overwhelmingly hushed presence, these paintings are loud and fully of energy. They are wonderful examples of the artist's place in contemporary art, both a mixture of fine art establishment but with a connection to his street and toy collector-culture past and present.
Stay tuned for more coverage from Hong Kong in the coming days. This show is on view at Perrotin in Tokyo through May 12, 2018.
Photos by @epricco