Byline: Ian Hill
The marvellous Japan 2000 project offered, with its Festival visits from the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra and the quite astonishing musical theatre spectacular Shooting Stars, an insight into a culture with which soccer fans may first encounter during the World Cup.
Now, via Belfast's Ormeau Baths Gallery, the project brings us an exhibition of large paintings, Paintings For Joy, subtitled New Japanese Paintings in 1990s.
And, just as with Shooting Stars which could be interpreted as a vast Gameboy spectacular played out by live actors on a 50 metre stage, much of the work in the OBG show would appear to take its influences from a society where many artists question their fellow country-people's experience of art as filtered through the electronic mass media's subjugation to US cultural world domination.
Thus Takashi Murakami's acrylic pop art images of Mickey Mouse doll-like images, more particularly Yoshito Nara's paintings in acrylics of comic book spooky children - physically and mentally scarred - giving the viewer, as it were, the evil eye, and Taro Chiezo's oil on canvas cartoon plants with humanoid children's faces, named Boy, Boy II etc. …