Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Kazuo Kamimura exhibit

I like GAoh! It's one of the more interesting galleries in Tokyo, and it's sponsored by Umezz ("Drifting Classroom", "Fourteen"), one of the funnier manga artists working today. I just wish there were more reasons to visit GAoh! more often. Lately, the exhibits in the basement gallery haven't been manga-related, and the last couple of times I went there wasn't much to write about. So, I'm happy to say that there's finally something that I like to see there.

From Nov.2 to the 21st, GAoh! is featuring some of the art of Kazuo Kamimura (1940-1986). Unfortunately, the English wiki has nothing on him. The Japanese wiki lists 14 major works. The one he is most known for in the U.S. is "Lady Snowblood" (which he illustrated and Kazuo Koike wrote. It's a shame that he isn't more visible in the U.S., because his artwork is wicked good. The GAoh! exhibit is pretty small, with maybe 20-30 pieces on the walls, and some personal items in a glass display case in the middle of the floor. You can see more of his works at the official website. The "Works" link on his site is actually quite long. The primary work featured in GAoh! is "Lunatic Connection" (狂人関係), which unfortunately is sold out from the 1st floor gift shop (a number of his other works have been reprinted and are still available from the gift shop, but they cost 2-3 times more).

The exhibit is free, and is definitely worth checking out if you're in the area. Note that it was written up in the Japan Times, but the article is no longer available online. In any case, the JT description of the event categorizes it as an example of Kazuo's great skills as a Ukiyo-e woodblock artist, which is completely off the mark. Kazuo would have been a perfect match for Garo magazine, and a lot of what's in the exhibit is reminiscent of Shouhei and the Tsuge brothers. His books in the gift shop include a lot of adult matter, which is actually very well done.

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