Wanna Laugh: Inside Tomoo Gokita's New Exhibition in London
Back on March 6th, we attended the opening of Tomoo Gokita's debut showcase with Massimo De Carlo gallery in London's Mayfair neighborhood. Bringing 21 new paintings exclusively painted for this showcase, the exhibition covered most iconic types of works that the prolific Japanese artist has been known for.
From small canvases that included abstract patterns as well as rarely seen autoportrait of the artist, to iconic large portraiture pieces, the elaborate exhibition showcased the strength and uniqueness of Tomoo Gokita's visual language. Effortlessly shifting between motifs and genres, the pieces are capturing the direct and unmediated creative approach marked with strong gestures and skilled paint manipulation. The fact that all 21 works were painted in a record-breaking short period of only 15 days further proves Gokita's confidence and ability to continuously explore every aspect of his practice.
Balancing between eerie ambiance and almost humorous representations, the iconic noirish portraiture works are depicting fallen pop-cultural archetypes in a peculiar light. Regularly deconstructed or obscured, his subjects are usually referenced from vintage wrestling or pinup images, with unexpected surreal additions. The show included a couple of abstract pieces based on the skilled gradient manipulation and play with most simplified organic or figurative shapes. The artist shared with us that these egg-like creations are a direct result of his ongoing experimentation during the creative process, which could be noticed from the ghostly silhouettes layered under the image. Finally, the showcase included a series of black and white pattern works that serve as somewhat of practice for more strict, less organic images, and are often used in Gokita's graphic designs. His big London debut with Massimo De Carlo gallery attracted Gokita's friends, fans, and collectors from around the globe, as well as his gallerists/friends Taka Ishii from Japan or Bill Brady from the US.
Photos and text by Sasha Bogojev