Last month while traveling in Tokyo I stumbled across "The Doraemon 2017 Exhibition" at The Mori Art Center Gallery. It was inspiring to see an entire show devoted to 28 artists who have been inspired by the iconic, robotic cat whose image has become so emblematic of Japanese anime and manga.
The range of media and variety of artistic practices displayed in the exhibition reveals the level of freedom the artists had in creating their pieces. That said, the one constant, Doraemon himself, is represented uniquely throughout.
While photographer Mika Ninagawa explored a very physical relationship with a very fictional character, Miran Fukuda depicted an ethereal Doraemon whose existence is literally comprised of gods and demons plucked straight from Japanese folklore.
Takashi Murakami blended his own manga iconography with that of Doraemon creator Fujiko Fujio to create a hypnotic amalgam that embodied the past, present and future of manga and it's unrelenting hold on the Japanese psyche.
Doraemon becomes fitting inspiration for costume in Yasumasa Morimura and Junko Koike's sculptural piece depicting the character's familiar characteristics on a female mannequin in dress form.
Kayo Ume shared personal photographs of her family and their love of the esteemed cat from the future. I saw my own family creating their own memories by going to this show.
One of my favorite artists Yoshitomo Nara contributed the usual suspects — portraits of menacing children, this time dressed in ambiguous feline costumes, lending a haunting atmosphere to the otherwise jubilant show.
The show ended in a hysteric burst of joy in Sebastian Masuda's giant Doraemon sculpture made of toys and fur.
Overall I thought the show was a exciting display of contemporary art and it's engagement with lo-brow comic culture. Pop artists like Warhol and Lichtenstein come to mind as they shared certain themes in their own work.
Do you have a particular relationship with Doraemon? If so, how does the character resonate in your world??
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