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Mr.: Nobody Dies

by Brian Fichtner in Culture on 17 November 2008

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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.

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"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 “gotcha-gotcha”, the sound that the machine makes as it is dispensing the toy."

Nobody Dies
Through 21 February 2009
Lehmann Maupin
201 Chrystie Street
New York, NY 10002 map
tel +1 212 254 0054

Full caption info after the jump.

Top image
MR.
Team rabbit, 2008
c-print mounted on aluminum
37.46 x 50.71 inches (paper)
95.16 x 128.8 cm
45.5 x 59 inches (framed)
115.6 x 149.9 cm
Courtesyy Lehmann Maupin Gallery, NY
Photo by Liz Ligon
Edition of 5, 2 AP

Bottom image
MR.
As I close my eyes, I see the distant Arakawa River, the faraway sky, 2008
acrylic on canvas
114.57 x 286.61 inches
291 x 728 cm
Courtesy Lehmann Maupin Gallery, NY
Photo by Ben Cohen
©2008 Mr. /Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd.
All Rights Reserved.

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