ERO GURO NANSENSU: Modern Japan and Erotic Grotesque Nonsense

ERO GURO NANSENSU: Modern Japan and Erotic Grotesque Nonsense


Exhibition: September 12-15, 2015
Opening Reception: Saturday, September 12, 6-9 pm, Artist Talk at 7 pm
Art History 101: Dance of Death: Mavo artists and Modern Tokyo: Sunday, 9/13, 3 PM
Open Hours: Sunday, 9/13 from 2-6; Monday and Tuesday 9/14-9/15 from 4-8 pm

In September, 1924, Mavo magazine Issue 3 was distributed by attaching firecrackers to the cover and launching them into the streets of Tokyo. On the day of the final proof of the magazine, contributor Yabashi Kimimaro issued the statement: “one should demand revolution as one demands alcohol and fulfillment of sexual desire.” Mavo magazine was compiled by an artist group associated under the same name (Mavo, active from 1923-1926) and it provides an important record of the avant-garde in Japan during the interwar period.

Kara Jefts, a curator, art historian, and artist, re-embodies the work of Mavo artists within contemporary networks in order to better understand a body of work from which little material evidence remains. By using practice-based research, Jefts looks to engage with contemporary artists whose work parallels themes of ero guro nansensu (erotic grotesque nonsense) a term used by Japanese mass media to describe counter culture from the 1920s to the 1940s.

By working within contemporary artist networks, Jefts seeks to learn from the ways in which themes repeat themselves across cultures and historic time periods, as well as to introduce new audiences to largely unrecognized Japanese artist movements from the early twentieth century.

On view at the Flux Factory are works from Jefts’ ongoing project, including photographs and ephemera from her collaboration with the artists Leonard Suryajaya, Dave J. Bermingham, and Tongyu Zhao, and the exhibition of new work to be developed during her Flux residency with the artist Jason Martin.


Artist Talk

Saturday, September 12, 7:00 PM

Kara Jefts will lead an informal discussion about her experience sharing art historical research in a way that inspires interest, collaboration, and reinterpretation. Jefts questions the reliability of recorded histories, and is interested in understanding the past through imagined experience.

Art History 101: Dance of Death: Mavo artists and Modern Tokyo

Sunday, September 13, 3:00 PM

Kara Jefts will present on Mavo artists in the context of 1920s Tokyo, explaining the uncertainty of this post-disaster earthquake moment in Japan and the artists’ interest in play and the political.


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