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Wednesday, 14 December 2011
A Healthy Dose of Mikati Slade
Mikati is a Japanese digital artist who studied classical sculpture and drawing at university. I first met her at Burn2 2011 and said at the time: “Now, if I had to isolate just one exhibit for you to go see…just one, then, without doubt it would be Mikati Slade’s simply stunning ‘Popscape’. It is a gigantic, no-apologies, no-compromise celebration of Japanese popular culture”.
Her new installation, Kuru Kuru World maintains the Japanese Pop Art style of Popscape but, believe it or not, is actually even bigger than Popscape, is even less apologetic than Popscape and makes even fewer compromises than Popscape!
Such is the respect for and interest in Mikati’s work that at the opening I saw Bryn Oh, Scottius Polke, Marcus Inkpen, Fuschia Nightfire, Claudia222 Jewell – all of whom I admire and have previously blogged – prolific art photo-journalist Tim Deschanel, noted art blogger Quan Lavender and many others also attended.
However, I was the only person with the depth of fashion sense to proudly don Mikati’s “Popscape” hat!
There is something decidedly uplifting and healthy about Mikati Slade’s work. It is brain candy; indeed, it is チキンスープ for the soul!
Mikati’s work cheers the heart on a frosty day! It provides colour, comfort and warmth in an increasingly gray, disturbed and cold world.
Is there a deep meaning to this work, Kuru Kuru World? Probably, yes. Almost certainly Mikati will be able to share with you some philosophy or idea behind her installation. And this is all good.
But, you know what? The work is - in and of itself, as a visual structure in its own right - enjoyable enough that there is no *need* to overlay a secondary layer of significance.
I mean, you don’t play Pacman and expect to discover supernatural life, right? Or amuse yourself with Super Mario Brothers and expect each coin to turn into the Higgs Boson. Or even while away a few hours on Street Fighter II Turbo and expect to fight Titian as the End-Level Boss! Of course not.
But nevertheless each of these activities is thoroughly enjoyable and worthwhile in their own right, without any need for further explanation or justification.
There is nothing “shallow” about this installation. On the contrary, Mikati Slade proves herself to be a digital sculptor of formidable knowledge and talent, with a deep understand of colour and shape. It is just, simply, that Kuru Kuru World is so enjoyable an experience that it doesn’t *need* any vindication other than to be what it is.
Kuru Kuru isn’t, in my opinion, a cerebral installation. Nor is it a sensual installation. It is a visceral gut-level injection of innocent joy.
And for that reason alone, I sincerely hope you visit it.