I know I can’t speak for everyone, but when I think of Japan, I typically think of either the super traditional culture, filled with honor, martial arts, and magical dragons, or I think about the super modern Japan, where they have managed to be on the forefront of technology and industrialization. It is almost like these things have become very separate in my head. Well, Japanese artist Yasuto Sasada has helped me visualize them together. His latest exhibit entitled Synapse is currently on display at the CATM gallery in Chelsea where he combines popular images and ideas from Japanese folklore, and adds a modern visualization to them.
At a quick glance at some of his pieces, you might not notice anything that far from what you have seen with tons of Japanese imagery. The beauty in his work is certainly in the details. Sasada works mostly with a monster collection of .3mm pens to create work that would take most of us a lifetime to make and an eternity to fully appreciate.
In a short bio, Yasuto Sasada discusses how he wanted to celebrate various aspects of Japanese culture in a time when the country needs some good spirit. Japan has been dealt some devastating luck in recent history, but Sasada wants to promote both Japan’s rich historical imagery with its ability to become one of the world’s leading industrial forces.
Not all of the work in this exhibit fit that mold in my opinion. There are a number of works that seem to be pure surrealism. I don’t think there is a specific correlation between a fish that has human tongues for fins and modern Japan, but I could be wrong. Perhaps this is some experimentation toward a new direction in Sasada’s work. I personally, for very complex reasons, am just happy he depicted a tiger in his series.