Perrotin are happy to current the initially exhibition of New York-based mostly Japanese artist Susumu Kamijo at its Paris gallery. For the situation, the artist showcases a new collection of paintings discovering the psychology of the canine. The puppy (canis lupus familiaris) is an ambiguous creature. In historic Egypt, it was viewed as a psychopomp, a soul guide, leading the dead to paradise when it was not guarding the gates of hell. Domesticated, altered, and transformed, it nevertheless remains unpredictable currently, its primal desires reminding us of this sick character that threatens us with pandemics and local weather improve. In the beginning a hunting doggy, the poodle gradually grew to become a pet and then an accessory, exhibited in portraits as a symbol of luxury and fidelity.
Susumu Kamijo discovered these animals – their entire world and extravagant codes – in dog competitions. The clearly show pet dog is a symbol of artifice and eccentricity (from its habits to its coat), and the splendor of canine competitions is at periods reminiscent of the fashion planet: the subtle poses of Kamijo’s types, their caricatural looks and equipment – firmly placing the puppy on the aspect of lifestyle in the perennial mother nature/lifestyle discussion – are bolstered by bold color palettes that resemble style journal addresses. In these imagined portraits, the puppies are posing, haughty like Ingres’ bourgeois with the status of Tamara de Lempicka’s elites.
Kamijo’s poodles are no extended searching companions – tamed and tailored – nor are they the distinguished components in portraits. In his work, the poodle turns into a clever machine, a motif reminding us that Kamijo’s subject is to start with and foremost painting alone. It is a traditional strategy. Commencing with a familiar element, he reproduces it tirelessly to the issue that it results in being automated, a sign-up of forms and sizes requiring instinct to establish the arrangement of colors and its visible consequences. To a little misquote Maurice Denis, “remember that a portray, before staying a poodle, is effectively a flat surface protected with hues assembled in a particular buy.”
As a painter, Susumu Kamijo revives some of the explorations that led portray to the frontiers of abstraction, these as simultaneous contrasts of varieties and designs of colour. In the historical past of summary portray, a motif was typically pushed to its figurative limitations, and Kamijo’s poodles appeared until eventually lately to observe in the footsteps of Piet Mondrian’s Flowering Apple Tree or Jawlensky’s Mystical Heads. Nonetheless Kamijo’s latest series also moves in yet another way, as it does not renounce figuration, striving for far more complexity and psychology.
Even although the figures’ faces and mouths continue being stoic, one particular is tempted to see a type of anthropomorphism. Kamijo introduces this psychological dimension by experimenting with minimalist but acquainted environments with objects this sort of as a vase or an animal cranium, which, for the artist, evoke museum displays. An open window or a portray inside of a portray switch the surroundings into a reassuring motif. Delving into the depths of the graphic, he divides the composition into regular legible planes in which he sites his creatures, an in-between, maintaining the viewers at a length when also inviting near observation.
This ease and comfort of the domestic natural environment is a critical element in his most current explorations the dwelling area that humanizes his designs is influenced by Francis Bacon, and, as in some of Henri Matisse’s paintings, the figure merges with the décor to generate a harmony of composition and a poetry of the daily. This intrusion of element, precise and highly effective, is also a homage to the Japanese filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu, referencing his incredible indoor shots with their intentionally minimal and persistent angles, celebrating each day daily life by locating natural beauty in the banal and philosophically revealing times of lifestyle punctuated by the frames of doors and windows.
Even even though he acknowledges the great importance of classical portray and its masters, Susumu Kamijo’s apply are unable to be restricted to these traditions. The paintings have to be taken for what they are, hallucinatory portraits of poodles that intentionally enjoy with the conventions of portraiture, amongst homage and mischief, mainly because immediately after all, as he statements: “Life doesn’t make sense. Just stay playfully. That’s my way of working with daily life.”