Makoto Aida is a provocateur, a prankster, a radical. He disdains the slick, corporate ideology of Murakami’s Kaikai-Kiki talent agency; he succeeds to create a more individualistic and socially engaging art form. In his first one-person exhibition in New York, Makoto has mounted a compelling array of new works. Nothing to Lose, a mural-sized watercolor painting on paper, features his signature “Rice-Ball Man” smiling as he straddles a Japanese fish-ball. In Japan, 2005 he presents a computer generated line drawing of a multitude of identical mini-vans, sealed with masking tape, each carrying six seated figures and three traditional Japanese coal-burning heaters. At first glance, the figures appear identical, like crash dummies, but upon further inspection they are each distinct: their features are drawn with different computer symbols.
Princess Masako Senpai, Cheer Up! is an oversized mixed media work on canvas illustrating four girls – classmates of the Princess – dancing in hopes of cheering her up, as she fell into a depression after disappointing the Royal Family by giving birth to a girl instead of the desired male heir to the thrown. Lastly, in Picture of Mountain Stream, Makoto renders a delicate ink, pencil and watercolor drawing on paper of 40 young girls languishing under a mountain waterfall and splashing in the stream below. As Makoto states: “My new Picture of Mountain Stream is my most innocent and open work to date. I have always liked using irony, violence and the taboo in my work, but decided to erase any traces of them here. If it seems too innocent to qualify as Art, so be it. I drew it to please myself…”