Shintaro Miyake

Minotaur versus Kraken
15 Jan. - 13 Mar. 2004

Colosseo, Minotaur vs sword warrior, 2003, color pencil on paper, 91 x 121 cm

The Suzy Shammah Gallery will be starting its activity with an exhibition of the Japanese artist Shintaro Miyake. It will be the first show outside Japan by this artist, who lives and works in Tokyo. Miyake's style is singularly distinctive and performs an important role in The inevitable Japanese experience, as was defined the New Pop art movement, that has determined a decisive reorientation not only in Japanese art but also in its reception in the West. 

Miyake transports into the visual arts his passion for acting and disguise. When he works on a drawing he dresses up as a puppet wearing self designed costumes to represent the character he is painting. He slips into his costume and draws with colored pencils on paper his self-portrait. Although he is portly his alter ego is a graceful, long legged feminine creature, often introduced as "Miss Sweet". Shintaro Miyake creates a playful pictorial fantasy world that literally includes him. With a fervid imagination, he composes vividly colored and complex situations that preserve all of the spontaneous innocence of children's representation. The cartoon-like nature of Miyake's figures brings up memories of the earliest pictures in the history of man, the prehistoric cave drawings. The ancient myth is here evoked so that history can start anew: "back to the future".

For this Italian exhibition Miyake identifies as symbols of this country's history the Minotaur and the Coliseum. In the large and small format drawings the Minotaur-Miyake fights the Kraken inside the Coliseum, which is portrayed as an arena or a swimming pool without appearing to suffer by the comparison. In the wood cuttings, Miss Sweet seduces the viewer with hairstyles inspired by different monuments such as the Milan's Dome or the Pisa's Tower or Naples Sant' Angelo Castle. During his stay Miyake will act a performance in Rome, drawing inside the Coliseum dressed up as the Minotaur, the film of the performance will be projected in the gallery.
Colosseo, Kraken vs warrior, 2003, color pencil on paper, 91 x 121 cm
Miss Venus, 2003, color pencil on woodcut, 140 x 53,5 cm
Warrior, 2004, color pencil on paper, 45 x 37 cm