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(Born in 1965)
The Member of the Giant Ico Chan VS King Gidora
signed, dated and redated '1992;Aida Makoto; 2002' in Japanese (on reverse)
watercolour and gold pigment on paper
30 x 42 cm. (11 3/4 x 16 1/2 in.)
Painted in 1992
Christie's Hong Kong, 26 November, 2006, Lot 417
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Tetsuro Murobushi, 21st Century Prints: Makoto Aida Empty Soul, Tokyo Japan, Autumn, 2004, p. 44. (illustrated)
Tokyo, Japan, Yanaka Furufuru Gallery, Pictures Don't Need to be Not Square, 1992

Lot Essay

I maintain that human egotism breeds itself where there is beauty; I also believe that human beings cannot live in the world without beauty. 'Beauty' here also means 'Eros'. In this broad interpretation of human desire, I acknowledge the inevitability of war, discrimination, and bullying because they are cause by this erotic drive. Without recognizing this, there's no coming up with an effective way to prevent them. I think that the hysterical idealism enforcing the slogan of 'love and peace' merely confuses the situation.
- Aida Makoto

Aida stirs up a passive aggressive reflex by drawing yet repelling the spectators in tandem with his sexual iconoclasm. In Girls don't cry, (Lot 927) He figuratively uses the body of a female to paint a three dimensional portrait of a manga girl. He explored the body's perceptual competence to art's eccentric impact on them by resourcefully manipulating the natural curves and assets of the female body, clothing color configuration of a manga character's head; breasts as the protruding eyes, nipples as the pupils, navel as the nostrils and genitals as the chin dimple. The words painted in color on the girl's "No interest in life!!" gives the voice to the inner voice of the small man in Japanese society. Aida captures with precision to the pressures and helplessness of its modern lifestyle, putting his work front and center in Japan's art world.

The vanity in excessive consumerism in contemporary society has proliferated aimless individuals; this emptiness contaminating everything into worthless products, discarding and ignoring any ethical, moral or humane essence of its initial existence. Like so, even human, furthermore, woman has become objectified into infinite space of distortion. The constant portrayal of women in consumable situations such as commercial media, animation, manga and sexual industry alters them into complex commodity. Aida's attentiveness towards this reality is portrayed in his modification of the body as the canvas to his paint, twisting the preadolescent girl into a subject of voyeurism.

In this respect, the rather humorous and perverse introduction to the Edible Artificial Girls, Mi-Mi-Chan (Lot 927) is applied to the degraded and commoditized status of women in society. Sliced, baked, frozen and chopped, the sweet, endearing female are literally treated and served as emotionless pieces of flesh, offered to fulfill the insatiable appetite of men. The viewer finds them selves taking terse embarrassing glances but with extreme scrutiny at every glance. This juxtaposed interplay is a repetitive factor that Aida consciously installs, revealing again his capricious behavior but retaining the core nihilism in criticizing the hedonic, materialistic culture of modern Japanese society.

Women's role as pets and sacrificial objects are undeniably obvious. The female meat market has not been without scrutiny over the years, yet where has the state of this inhumane business arrived today? Aida leaves the question open, knowing that as viewers agonize over feeling both drawn to and repulsed by his presentation; their limits of passive acceptance are being aggressively pushed. Indeed, Aida has boldly challenged the idea of 'consumption of humans' to its extreme, forcing us to take the measure of our own morals and ethical standards.

Reverberating a likeness or even of otaku fondness for the leading figure of avant-garde and underground manga, Takashi Nemoto, Aida consents to Nemoto's principle that "human desire and instinct are irrational and base but baseness provides man his power to live." His vulgar comics, loaded with the mix of violence, pornography and irrationality paved the way for Aida's artistic burst of his self-exploitation.

The Member of the Giant Ico Chan VS King Gidora (Lot 925), a painting imbued with sardonic humor, is a hybrid between parody of a popular children's sci-fi television show, Ultraman and the eroticism of Japan's Ukiyo-e print. This particular oeuvre marks as one that is revolutionary in Aida's artistic recognition in contemporary Japanese. At first glance, the scene emerges as a two-dimensional animation, but with scrutiny, Aida's insertion of ornamental detail in expressing sexual sadism is one that is very much driven from traditional Japanese painting. Allegedly heroic in its narrative, the protagonist is attacked by a malicious but mythical monster. She lies lifelessly on the street, numb but in emotional pain of its sadistic assault, disturbing traffic, and hence disturbing hope of the people in this town, perhaps to consequently disturb all individuals observing this painting.

The twisted aesthetics of Aida reside within the crudities of his subject. Untamed, unobstructed, he freely toys with social ethics by throwing conventionally decided immoral images to the viewer. By imprinting an image that is hard to swallow for the viewer, in return, this cunning tactic already becomes his way of engaging the spectator in intense emotional rumble, and moreover a way to make an unforgettable impact in their vulnerable mentality.

Makoto does not only reside in his bizarre realm of his own but is more engaged in reality than his paintings portray. 2005, Japan (Lot 926) acts as a statement to his deeply grounded contemplation, which in painterly translation may arrive as an absurdity, and perhaps even an selfish inconsideration to the moral duties of the real world. This oeuvre presents a claustrophobic traffic, frustrating the viewer's contemporary reflex by the immobility of the cars within the frame of a computer screen. The subtle pixilated grid with computer scrolls on the edges of the paper further strangles the spectators, agitating them with another contemporary reflex of a frozen screen of a computer. Aida's excellence in pushing the buttons, activating the aggressive reflexes from the audience is all necessary as he attempts to bring attention to the frequent crisis in Japan, where collective suicide has become a trend. Easily accessible through internet notice boards, these individuals trap themselves with burning charcoal or with terra cotta stove in a car sealed with adhesive tape, suffocating death with carbon monoxide poisoning. The figurines are of depiction of emoticon taken from the actual internet notice board.

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