by Keiichi Tanaami

No More War

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Keiichi Tanaami’s No More War was by far my favorite find at last years New York Art Book Fair. Published in Switzerland by Edition Patrick Frey, No More War features thirty-eight sculptures built between 1977 and 1989 mostly from lacquered wood, which were exhibited in 2011 at Art Basel.

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I first became familiar with Tanaami’s work when I came across an earlier book of his, Daydream and I became a fan immediately. Known for bringing psychedelic and pop art to Japan, Tanaami has worn many hats achieving success in outlets as varied as illustration, graphic design, drawing, painting, animation, film, and as evident here, sculpture.

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There are many recurring icons and subjects which appear in Tanaami’s work which show up in these pieces. Nude females, Elephants (both obvious and implied), Pro-wrestling rings, phalluses, and stylized trees are all present, as well as really fascinating architectural elements. A mixture of organic and geometric, familiar and bizarre make each of these sculptures compelling in relation to the series as a whole and on their own.

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The book itself is simple in design, but instead of page numbers each spread has a color border which relates to the piece. This color can then be referred to in the index of works in the back of the book, as well as in the concentric rectangles which compose the front and back cover design.