I recently went to visit ‘The World Goes Pop’ exhibition at the Tate Modern. It was fascinating to walk through the bright colored rooms and to take in all of the expressionistic art which was bouncing off the walls. Quite a few artists stood out to me, especially those who were creating activist artworks, or were demonstrating the evils of consumerism. One artist that stood out above all was Keiichi Tanaami, he had created a short film called ‘Crayon Angel’. Something about this film reminded me of ‘The Yellow Submarine’, I guess it was the pop art aspect or the perplexing story-line. However the Crayon Angel almost hypnotized me, its not a film which you would understand the meaning of the first time you watch it, it took a while before I could try to master what the Tanaami was trying to portray to the viewer.
He created Crayon Angel to represent the American invasion of Japan, both culturally and military wise. Tanaami combines footage of American fighter-jets and explosions, along with old photographs of Japanese families behind a ‘fusuma’ (Sliding doors used to separate spaces within rooms) which can also be interpreted as prison bars. He also added psychedelic characters and superheros from that time. I believe he was trying to exhibit how much of an influence America had on Japan, turning it into a consumerist society.
By Isabella Santamaria