Recent Openings: Yamamoto Gendai

This was my first encounter with Erina Matsui’s whimsical works; her solo show “One-touch Time Machine” is on view at Yamamoto Gendai through May 1. The young artist creates a carnivalesque universe where the lips on a giant face are transforming into slimy mushrooms right before our eyes, heads grow out of the ground, and weird creatures spew out cotton tissues. As I was looking at the mixed media works and paintings I could not help but think about the hermetic quality of the world Matsui depicts. There is nothing extraneous, every bizarre creature, every doll, every mushroom and celestial figure has its proper place. And, at the exhibition opening, amidst all that splendor the artist herself, clad in a big yellow crinolined dress was eagerly posing in front of her works as if shown how to inhabit her fantastical world properly.

Erina MATSUI, No! Never, 2010, H146xW112cm, Oil on canvas, ©Erina MATSUI

Against the prevailing background of artistic gravitas and lofty detachment shared by the majority of interesting art in various Tokyo galleries, Matsui’s work initially seems too cute, even old-fashioned, but her sincerity and consistency prove otherwise. She is a storyteller and a good one too.

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