In most cultures, fantasy and escape are seen as a way of avoiding reality. In late Twentieth Century Japan however, where rigid societal structures and a failing economy left many young people feeling trapped, escapism almost assumed the status of political resistance. To become engrossed in fictional realities such as manga comics or computer games was a kind of rebellion against the world view of the preceding generation. It’s important to bear this in mind when viewing Makiko Kudo’s art. The long-legged and wide eyed girls who populate her paintings (as if they had 'trespassed' into landscapes depicted by painters such as Henri Rousseau, Claude Monet, David Hockney and Henri Matisse) may be avatars for the artist herself, but the places to which they retreat are serious and very real. The thirty four-year-old Kudo’s choice to regress into a child’s body can be seen as reflecting her generation's anxieties about the constraints of adulthood, interpersonal relationships and social convention. This is what she has to say about her work.
Who are you?
A sad monster.
What's on your mind right now?
Trees, lights, people and animals in hardship.
How do you get this stuff out?
I connect what I see and what I feel using imagination and emotions like dreams.
How does it fit together?
I finish when I feel that there is no room for another brush stroke.
What brought you to this point?
I used to paint in order to release chaotic things. Gradually, it has become simpler.
Can you control it?
Sometimes I can - I can get close to what I feel is a completed work. And sometimes I can't . Sometimes I struggle but cannot 'reach' the image. But even when I can't, something interesting may come out., Most of the time, I lack technique or I make mistakes on timing.
I want to paint. My desire to paint has been growing recently. The world has so much trouble, but I think it’s still beautiful.
Makiko Kudo is showing at the Wilkinson Gallery, 50-52 Vyner St, London from March 2 - April 15.
Get inside the mind of more artists from Vitamin P2 here:
Inside the mind of Stephen Bush
Inside the mind of Glenn Sorensen
Inside the mind of Serban Savu
Inside the mind of Xylor Jane
Inside the mind of Ellen Altfest
Inside the mind of Antonio Ballester Moreno
Inside the mind of Milena Dragicevic
Inside the mind of Lesley Vance
Inside the mind of Li Shurui