Some say fine art ends when the technical drawing starts. Well, that’s not the case with Shinji Murakami- the 30 something artist from Japan, who has transcended the boundaries and collided the technical aspect behind art in general. The first thing that strikes our mind when we think of fine art is the spontaneity, impulsiveness, abstraction, emotion and expression. Likewise, when we talk about technical drawing we talk about geometrical shapes, rulers, compasses, arcs and dimensions. Years of exercise and practice gives the very fine-art abstraction- a symmetry and the same stroke of brush becomes a noteworthy composition. This is where Shinji delivers- a rare blend of defined improvisation within the precision of geometrical accuracy.
Pixel Art is how Shinji categorizes his whimsical artworks. At the first go- you will think they are some kind of Lego based art. But that’s what it’s not. It is much deeper than the superficial judgment. To Shinji himself, it is a legacy of a digital pixel that invaded our lives starting from computers to video games- leading to cellular age. From the very beginning of computer era- we saw the evolution from Wordstar to Foxpro to Dbase and it went to the fruition of windows that paved the way for Photoshop and the following digital art revolution. Shinji’s imagination on the contrary is caught and originated in the nostalgia of early video games- starting from Pacman to Galaga days.
His art is beyond 3 dimensional spheres and narration of auto-painted cubes. He is actually quantifying nature in one of his masterpieces of a horse- a symbolic figure of power and pride, dated in the tradition of Japanese Dynasty and Samurai heritage. All this and more makes Shinji’s Pixel Art- a distinctive cornerstone in the anthropological advancement of digital age- which is fast becoming a part of mainstream art.
Pixel is foundation of today’s 4K revolution and Shinji’s attention to detail is expansively covered cubical manifestation of his concepts. Catinca Tabacaru, the director of this gallery has carefully suggested the pieces for this exhibition (from his works) based on his technical brilliance and conceptual relevance for Big Apple. Art lovers here are savvy and discerning. And the reason behind Shinji’s reception here is because his works appeal both to fine-art enthusiasts as well as digital age revolutionaries.
This is a step forward and a meeting point, where the two art-forms meet up through traditional and contemporary viewpoints- only to take the visions of beholders on a nostalgic journey with a prediction of tomorrow.
To me Shinji’s pieces are as much futuristic, as they are classical. But this is the very ambivalent imagery that has made Shinji another masterful art stylist from Japan.
Shinji Murakami at Catinca Tabacaru Gallery
January 22 – February 21, 2016
250 Broome street, NYC
Writing by Atif A K
Photographs provided by the gallery