Currently on display at Mizuma Art Gallery in Tokyo is a joint exhibition by Hisashi Tenmyouya and Indieguerillas. The Japanese artist Tenmyouya is known for his “Neo-Nihonga” style of translating Japanese traditional painting into contemporary art. Art duo Indieguerillas are the Indonesian husband-and-wife Miko and Santi, who incorporate Javanese folklore, pop culture elements and contemporary city life into vibrant paintings and sculptures.
Tenmyouya is displaying new work from an ongoing series titled “Japanese Spirit.” Originally starting in 1997, the series features imaginary human-powered machines that are full of stereotyped misconceptions and misinformation that foreigners project upon Japan. Meanwhile, Indieguerillas will be displaying similarly imaginary contraptions. But their colorful paintings and sculptures riff on pop and comic book culture while referencing their own traditions.
The relationship between Indieguerillas and Tenmyouya is a story of fandom that the blossomed into friendship, and then collaborators. Indieguerillas have always been fans of Tenmyouya but as the gallery explains, “Last year that aspiration led to the realization of an exhibition curated by indieguerillas and Tenmyouya in Singapore, for which each side selected their respective own county’s most promising young creators.”