tokyo

Aida Makoto, Art and Philosophy #2 “French, German, English,” 2011, three-channel HD video, color, sound, 15 minutes 26 seconds (French), 15 minutes 23 seconds (German), 13 minutes 50 seconds (English).

Aida Makoto

Mori Art Museum

Aida Makoto, Art and Philosophy #2 “French, German, English,” 2011, three-channel HD video, color, sound, 15 minutes 26 seconds (French), 15 minutes 23 seconds (German), 13 minutes 50 seconds (English).

Japanese artist Aida Makoto plays the devil’s advocate, tweaking his nation’s collective conscience by opening a Pandora’s box of issues from which most of his compatriots typically avert their eyes. For example, his “War Picture Returns” series, 1995–2003, resuscitates gruesome events from the Pacific War, such as the Japanese occupation of Korea, the crushing imperialism imposed on regional neighbors under the fantastical guise of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, and the waste of countless young lives in a hopeless war effort. These paintings allude to the genre of “war pictures” exemplified by Léonard Foujita’s famous Last Stand at Attu, 1943, totalitarian propaganda meant to raise morale on the home front and glorify the deaths of Japanese fighting men as noble self-sacrifice. Unsurprisingly, this genre vanished after Japan’s defeat, and existing works were mostly

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