Tadanori Yokoo was an influential leader of youth culture when he drew illustrations for the historical serial story, Genka, by Harumi Setouchi ( presently, Jakucho Setouchi ) that appeared in the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper between 1974 and 1975. This was a story of the decline of the Muromachi shogunate ( 1336-1573 ) told from the perspective of a female individual. Letting his imagination fly in a succession of experimental approaches, Yokoo created a series of astonishingly skillful illustrations. Few knew of the existence of the entire series of originals until they were exhibited at the Yokoo Tadanori Museum of Contemporary Art in Hyogo Prefecture in December 2015. It was then that these original illustrations, released from their 40-year seclusion, emanated a new vitality as they powerfully expressed the atmosphere and energy of the mid-1970s when Yokoo at the forefront of his field deepened his interest in Orientalism.
Incorporating the title “The Complete Drawings for Genka” as named by Yokoo himself, the current exhibition presents from a new perspective all 371 original illustrations in Tokyo through the generous cooperation of the Yokoo Tadanori Museum of Contemporary Art. The exhibition examines the source of the energy emanating from these small 8cm by 14cm illustrations while focusing on the social situation of the time when Yokoo was about to turn 40 years old. In creating his illustrations, Yokoo at times quoted from the Heart Sutra, conveyed continuity through small changes in the scene as in an animated film, abruptly added motifs unrelated to the story, inserted images of the author Setouchi herself, and completed illustrations ahead of the story. Visitors can experience the true worth of Yokoo’s illustrations and drawings through the small world condensing the best of Yokoo’s graphic work.
Born in Hyogo Prefecture in 1936. Holds a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art ( New York ) in 1972. Subsequent participation in the biennales of Paris, Venice, Sao Paulo, and Bangladesh place Yokoo on the world stage. His many foreign exhibition, such as solo exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum ( Amsterdam ) and the Fondation Cartier pour 1’art contemporain ( Paris ), bring Yokoo international acclaim. The Yokoo Tadanori Museum of Contemporary Art is established in Kobe in 2012. The Teshima Yokoo House is established on Teshima Island in Kagawa Prefecture in 2013. Awarded the 27th Praemium Imperial in 2015. Yokoo’s works are in the collections of major art museum in Japan and abroad, and solo exhibitions are scheduled in coming years at art museums around the world.