Keiichi Tanaami (b. 1936 in Tokyo, Japan) lives and works in Tokyo, Japan. As Japan’s first Pop artist, he has forever shaped the world of art with his dizzying dreamscapes confronting man’s enchantment and alienation in the modern world.
Drawing inspiration from his time in New York in the 70s, with clear nods to Pop Art pioneers Andy Warhol and Roy Liechtenstein, Tanaami was also largely influenced by the trauma of the bombings of Tokyo by the United States during WWII which he he witnessed as a child. In his early collages he merges clippings from US magazines with hand drawn parts, often displaying his recurring themes like nudes, skulls, cherry blossoms, explosions and phallic images. Later in his career he took up painting and melted his existing themes with themes of Japanese art history by quoting Katsushika Hokussai or Oide Toko.
These paintings convey a Hieronymus Bosch-like density and with their glossy and flat brushstroke merge an abundance of color and information, consuming the entire frame with a mix of figures, symbolic motifs, sexual fetishes and familiar logos. Keiichi Tanaami has had solo exhibitions at Kunstmuseum Luzern, Kawasaki City Museum, K11 in Guangzhou. He’s taken part in various group shows such as K11, Hong Kong, Nottingham Contemporary, Centre Pompidou-Metz, Philadelphia Museum of Art and Tate Modern, amongst others. He became a professor at Kyoto University of Arts and Design in 1991 and is currently a chairperson there.