Currently on view at Lehmann Maupin in New York, Japanese artist and Kaikai Kiki collaborator Mr. is presenting his first foray into film with "Nobody Dies," a 35-minute short about a group of adolescent Japanese girls who partake in a paintball riddled war game of capture-the-flag.
Carefully toeing the line between perversion and commentary, the film is a continuation of the artist's investigation into the Otaku subculture and its fetishization of kawaii, or cuteness. Roughly half the film documents the everyday lives of these young girls while the second act features the group costumed in neon camo-garb (also designed by Mr.) and taking their game a little too literally. Throughout the film, the camera lingers suggestively on the girls, like the eyes of a shut-in comic geek, making for an altogether uncomfortable viewing. Which is likely the point.
"Nobody Dies," which was inspired by Mr.'s 2007 painting "It hurts when it hits bare skin," is supported by works on paper, the large-scale painting "Gothca-Gotcha" (above, click for detail), and his first works in photography (top). The monumental "Gothca-Gotcha" is a delight to behold, its multi-colored surface calling to mind a giant gumball machine. Perhaps this sentiment is not too far off the mark. The painting, as the press materials explain, "reflects a pastime of Japanese misfits. Crowds gather in the Akihabara (Akiba) neighborhood around toy dispensers similar to those found in American supermarkets in hopes of winning coveted prizes. Never knowing exactly what item will emerge, they cheer âgotcha-gotchaâ, the sound that the machine makes as it is dispensing the toy."
Full caption info after the jump.