Celebrated Japanese artist SaiakuNana, who has exhibited her work in Tokyo, London and New York, has joined forces with award-winning Cornish animator and filmmaker Ignatius Rake to produce a music video that documents her must-see gallery in London's East End before it closes this coming July 17. "I became a fan of SaiakuNana's work the moment I saw it at the Watari-um gallery in Tokyo," Rake says. "I was immediately struck by the power and vibrancy of her paintings, which combine the kawaii aesthetic of modern Japanese popular culture with the raw energy of punk rock and abstract expressionism."
"When I heard that she was opening her own gallery in Shoreditch in the East End of London, I had to get in touch and was honoured when she invited me to a private showing before officially opening the gallery to the public this past October," he continues. "I knew right away that her gallery had to be documented on film, especially when she said she would have to close it and return to Japan this summer."
Initially, Rake considered making a conventional documentary piece. However, as music plays such a key role in SaiakuNana's work, a music video seemed more appropriate. "The video is called 'Punk Rock Forever', a reference to one of the recurring themes found in SaiakuNana's art, even though the soundtrack owes more to the indie-dance fusion of bands like the Wolfgang Press than the raucous guitars of the Pistols, Crass or Stiff Little Fingers," Rake says.
Produced under the DCV banner, an ongoing collaboration between Rake and Poland-based multi-instrumentalist Delta City, the video soundtrack features SaiakuNana on vocals, extolling her philosophy and attitude to art in both English and Japanese. "Life is art, people, rock and roll and a gamble," SaiakuNana states. "I'm going to destroy contemporary art that's covered in numbers and start again today. The value of art is not determined by money, honour or criticism."
While post-production was undertaken at Rake's Snoz Studios in Cornwall, the video itself was shot entirely on location in SaiakuNana's London gallery. "It's a real shame that SaiakuNana will have to close the gallery in July as it's truly something to behold, a riotous Aladdin's Cave of ever-changing art. Normally, galleries are pretty sterile affairs, starkly lit with framed pictures hanging in an orderly fashion on plain white walls. Not so the SaiakuNana Gallery on Redchurch Street, which is a veritable explosion of vibrant pinks and reds splashed across the walls and floors as much as the canvasses," Rake says.
"Trust me," he continues, "I could wax lyrical about SaiakuNana's art for hours: her bold use of colour; the recurring themes of angst and alienation; the ever-present woman with large Nara-esque eyes trapped inside a prison of conformity whose only escape is an electric guitar and punk rock. Seriously, whether you're into art or not, her gallery is well worth a visit as it's so intense to be visually intoxicating."
"Everywhere you look there's something new and interesting to see," Rake says. "In fact, her gallery is as much a piece of art as the punk-kawaii paintings that hang in it, a fully immersive installation in its own right. It'll be so sad to see it go. I'm just glad I was able to capture a slice of it on video."
Located at 30 Redchurch Street, Shoreditch, London E1 6JT, the SaiakuNana Gallery is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday between the hours of 1pm and 5pm before it closes this coming July 17. Meanwhile, the 'Punk Rock Forever' video can be viewed online at Rake's Ninjin Art website here