Misaki Kawai

by lcwb

I saw Japanese/Brooklyn based artist Misaki Kawai’s “Space House” at the ICA in Boston a couple of years ago and became both fascinated and charmed by “cute-brut” style. Cute-brut (huge in Japan) takes an adult and (sometimes) semi scary or just bizarre approach to cute, childish and cartoonish style. One article equates it to the components of punk rock: “fucked-up technique plus verve equals great art if you get it “wrong” in just the right ways.”

Kawai’s ‘Space House’ installation is probably one of the most intriguing and literally alien pieces of art I’ve ever seen, and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since seeing it. The “space house” installation takes up a medium sized room, and upon walking in, one hears faint, bubbly chitter chatter that comes from the brightly colored, paper-mache looking interconnected space pods. The pods have little windows which, paired with the sounds of pixie-like chatter, beckon one into peering through.

Exterior view: Space house

Inside a pod. The TV actually works.

The sensation of spying on this bizarre little alien world is thrilling, like a mini mind-blowing rush of youthful curiosity. I only really recall having those feelings of awe when I was really little, like when I first realized what a pen was, only instead of it being a mundane and ordinary thing in my eyes, I treated it like it was a holy relic and didn’t let it out of my clutches for about a week.

Inside of the pods (above), one sees life being lived in a new/strange and different way. The creatures look a little bit like road-kill blow-up-dolls, and their language sounds a little bit like a remix of samples from a drunken tinker bell (hard to describe, evidently). They are all interacting and behaving in different ways in each pod, so you never get tired of looking through. Above, the little creatures are having a hot tub (orgy?) party. In the next pod, one might witness jazzercise.


Casually flying paper airplanes.

Fighting perhaps?

Misaki Kawai (holding coin purse?)

Some of her other non-installation stuff:

So pitiful.

Her “naked beach girl”

I really want to go to Japan… 0___O