Art Criticism – Keichiro Tao


Introduction to the “Between Dream & Reality”Exhibition

By Keiichiro Tao

Bijutsu-Techo Editor, Tokyo, Japan

Hearing that Kris was holding an exhibition in Shanghai this May I decided to head over there. I saw him surrounded by people of all nationalities, chatting and pulling down laughter with an art explanation mic performance ending the night by Dj-ing himself. I asked Kris whether perhaps he, who was born in Sweden, lives in Tokyo and does art in China whether perhaps the way of looking at his paintings might vary depending on the country the person is from so I asked him if it is so. When I hear his answer; “To me it is not about where they are from but rather to treasure the meeting and communicate with respect” I felt myself strangely accepting the truth in that.

Kris’s works freely moves between the concrete and the abstract leaving interpretation to the viewer. Using light color strokes and pop icons like hearts it often creates a feeling of happiness while sometimes lancing the boils of humanity to release the poison within.

“From where comes this laissez faire attitude” I found myself thinking while watching his works.  Perhaps this is why to him, the Japanese modern art scene seems difficult to grasp, full of rules and a culture, which awards “association” rather than originality. This interpretation of the scene seems natural when you considered he grew up in an area where borders are diffuse and now lives on an island where land is limited and which has a very distinct Eastern Culture.

There is a concept in Japanese art known as “Karumi軽”in Japanese art. It was minted by the legendary Haiku poet Matsuo Basho (松尾芭蕉) as a truth that he arrived at in his thoughts. It means to not to be intrusive but simple and part of everyday life. To simply add a touch of beauty to stir the heart is the meaning of this truth of beauty. When I look at the balance that Kris walks between the cultures of East and West, Love and Death, Beauty & Filth, I feel this truth of “Karumi”  that Basho found only in his later years.

It seems to me that not only is it no coincidence that his art finds a following in China but that it transcends the ideas of impression and the meaning of the word artist and suggest that perhaps this is just what is needed right now.

I had just finished writing these sentences after going through the list of work that he has submitted for the exhibition when I checked my phone and saw a chat from Kris. It was two new AR pieces that he had just produced. I read it and was immediately struck by the thought that, this ambivalent balancing act he keeps doing between strong adversity towards technology and his ability to use it is a large part of who he is. I see him smiling at me with that mischievous glint and I knew that this exhibition would be a great success.




日本には、“軽み(karumi)”と呼ばれる美意識がある。日本における俳句の第一人者・松尾芭蕉 が到達した理念で、日常的な題材のなかに美を見出し、(仰々しくなく)さらりと表現する心得 を指す。西と東、愛と死、美と俗。その両者を知りながら絶妙なバランス感覚を魅せるクリスの作 品は、芭蕉が後年に行き着いた“軽み”に通じるものがある。





Tao, Keiichiro