Critics’ Picks

Daan van Golden, Study Pollock/Made in Japan, 2012, giclee print, 16 x 13”.

Tokyo

Daan van Golden

Misako & Rosen
Minami-otsuka, 3-21-6, Toshima-ku 1F
April 27 - June 1

Misako & Rosen
Minami-otsuka, 3-21-6, Toshima-ku 1F
April 27 - June 1

Like a perfect cherry blossom, Daan van Golden’s idiosyncratic solo exhibition “Made in Tokyo” lures the viewer in to take a closer look. The Dutch artist could be called a painter, a photographer, or even a playwright of pieces that anticipate theories about the death of the author, and this show digs into his past as an English teacher/model/bit-part player and (artist’s) artist based in Japan between 1963 and 1964. The paintings van Golden made while living in Tokyo appropriate patterned motifs such as flowered and checkered wrapping paper from local department stores as well as those from handkerchiefs and other textiles. Although meticulous in their compositions, these translations always bear lingering touches of conscious imperfections, and such visual cracks open up their formal planes. For instance, the image of abstract shapes (rather than a material quality) resurfaces as a wandering character that changes through time and space—like a sign stripped of meaning, creating new possibilities. A highlight is the floral-patterned Untitled (Tokyo), 1964, introduced as recurrent background motif in more recent works on view and as relic from his 1964 solo show at Tokyo’s Naiqua Gallery.

A second body of work offers his recent series of “Double Prints,” 2012, digital collages in an intimate format that blend his past and present; for instance, an image of a Japanese issue of the Beatles’s LP Meet the Beatles features in Study Pollock/Made in Japan, 2012, which also paradoxically adapts Pollockesque drips. Interspersed throughout the show is an eclectic digest picked from van Golden’s photographic series “Youth is an Art, ” 1978–96, a work that blurs art and life and shows his daughter Diana growing up (to age eighteen) and traveling in various environments. A slide projection that documents his own life in Tokyo, including an installation view of his Naiqua exhibition, is presented alongside the thoughtfully grouped works. If ever a gallery show could be called context-sensitive without being didactic or stiff, it is this small but mighty one.