From Takashi Murakami to The Unseen World- Tomoko Sugimoto
Artists often have to work for other artists. To make ends meet, to learn the ins and outs of the business, because they are passionate about another’s work, etc. It can be a great experience, but can also deter the helper artist’s career- or yield a protégé that looks like a version of their master. Japanese artist Tomoko Sugimoto has worked for one of the world’s most famous living artists for about 20 years- Takashi Murakami. But not a smiling flower can be found in any of her beautifully delicate work. Like Murakami, Sugimoto’s work also takes influence from traditional Japanese illustration- but is decidedly her own.
The Unseen World (which is presented by Zahra Sherzad and opens tonight from 6-9pm at a popup space at 2 Rivington) folds the beauty of embroidery and Japanese illustration with grim imagery of war, death, and blood. Wartime photographs of bomb clouds are translated into delicate stitches of red thread across the surface of a cozy tent- appearing like billowing clouds from an ordinary day. yet inside, where visitors should feel protected, they are confronted with spurts of red thread that emulate blood spatters and gore. The tent is paired with an installation of 108 (the number of earthly temptations one must overcome to achieve Nirvana) circular canvases, stitched repetitively in a meditative process to represent tranquility amongst the chaos.
The Unseen World is as ephemeral as it sounds, on view daily from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. only until Sunday, September 11.