Sebastian Masuda's "Colorful Rebellion" Exhibit Goes Out with a Bang

Yesterday marked the last day of Japanese artist Sebastian Masuda's "'Colorful Rebellion'-Seventh Nightmare" exhibition at Kianga Ellis Projects gallery in NYC.

In case you're not familiar, Masuda is the founder of extravagant clothing shop "6% DOKIDOKI" in Harajuku, which caters to teenage girls.

He is considered an important founder of the kawaii pop-culture movement in Japan and helped launch the career of pop singer, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, with his keen art direction.

His art embraces both the cute and the weird, and is meant to express the varying emotions and pressures that many growing girls are faced with and the struggle they endure in trying to create an identity for themselves.

The show opened February 27th and was Masuda's first solo exhibition to grace NYC. Despite the less than pleasant weather, the show was met with incredible success; thousands of visitors appeared at the opening reception, packing into the third floor of the Chelsea building. Upon entering the space, visitors were bombarded with color; walls, floors, and ceilings were littered with bright toys, plushies, ribbons, dollhouses, hair-clips, and other kinds of girlhood memorabilia.

Made to look like a young girl's bedroom, the space included a small bed, which visitors were invited to lay on, and a large, slightly menacing looking, one-eyed teddy bear. The effect was both beautiful and overwhelming.

Beneath the colorful, cutesy surface, however, there was a lingering sense of uneasiness; the sterile looking bed with its metal frame and white sheets, the dim lighting, and severed doll limbs, imbue the room with an intentional darkness.

Masuda addresses this in an interview:

"To me, this is the room of someone struggling alone in the middle of the night or a room of repentance. A darkness creeps in from the cracks in the room. An assault by a night that will never turn to morning.

It was by no means my intention to express grotesque using kawaii things, rather I depended on the reason behind the process of being fascinated by kawaii things...that is the essence of kawaii. The distortion and strain of the process of a young girl maturing into an adult.

The colorful rebellion of girls. "

We're certainly thankful to Masuda for bringing a piece of Harajuku to NYC and we hope we'll be seeing more of him soon!

You can read more about Masuda's intent here: http://kiangaellisprojects.tumblr.com/
For those of you who didn't get a chance to see the exhibit, you can always visit his online store, "6% DOKIDOKI" here: http://www.dokidoki6.com/00_index1.html