Critics’ Picks

Satoshi Kojima, Beautiful Things, 2013, oil on canvas, 98 1/2 x 62 1/2".

Satoshi Kojima, Beautiful Things, 2013, oil on canvas, 98 1/2 x 62 1/2".

New York

Satoshi Kojima

Bridget Donahue
99 Bowery 2nd Floor
June 7–August 4, 2017

Satoshi Kojima’s exhibition of pastel-drenched, otherworldly oil paintings here—his first show in New York—speaks of being a stranger in a strange land and liking it. The artist moved from Japan to Germany to study art, and found in Düsseldorf a city where “it’s quite normal for numbered women in lingerie to strike poses in windows,” according to Peter Doig and Parinaz Mogadassi’s text for the show. Pleasure-seeking, primal instincts and a trippy search for self are the subjects of these pieces.

The settings, futuristic-looking and Op-inspired, are hallucinatory. In Last Dance, 2016, a pair of groovy figures wave their hands against a disco-glitter landmass—or is it a sky?—while posing on a train track that leads to nowhere. Beautiful Things, 2013, gives us blue-skinned aliens catching smiling, sperm-like objects being shat out by floating women—Lucys defecating from a sky full of yellow diamonds. The kaleidoscopic galaxy space in which the shirtless, jorts-clad disc jockey moves in DJ Box, 2017, vibrates. The anal-retentive construction of the background in this work is lightened by the painter’s soft-edged sensibilities. With ONO, 2014, the phrase “OH . . . NO . . .” appears as a pattern behind a man embarrassed by his hard-on, likely caused by the pretty male sylph reclining seductively on the grass in a thought bubble. Among all the negatives is one “OH . . . YES . . .”—a crack in the brittle armor of sexual frustration, a moment of giving in to lust’s supple embrace. Oh yes, yes . . . YES.