Teppei Kaneuji: Manga to art

Printmaking as fine art in Singapore

STPI DesignSpotlightSTLeng
The Singapore Tyler Print Institute (STPI) was established in 2001 by Kenneth Tyler, the American art printer who made a name producing the prints of top pop-art era American artists such as Frank Stella and Roy Lichtenstein.

I finally made my first visit on October 4, 2014. What a discovery!

The 2:30pm tour of the gallery and workshop acquainted me with Japanese artist Teppei Kaneuji’s work and the printmaking process. The studio tour is eye-opening.

Teppei Kaneuji’s world of random objects

The exhibition, called “Endless, Nameless”  (September 20 – October 25, 2014), showcased the 80 works by Kaneuji following his six-week residency at STPI.

My money is on the black and white “manga” (Japanese cartoon) pieces, where assorted elements – household items, musical instruments, machinery, whatever – are lifted off the pages of manga and individually reproduced on a variety of surfaces – wood, acrylic, cloth – then re-assembled into new original artworks and sculptures.

Teppei Kaneuji working on a wood and print piece in Singapore. Photo: STPI

Teppei Kaneuji working on a plywood and print piece. Photo: STPI

The guide told me Kaneuji’s pieces are all untitled, and are put together with only aesthetics in mind.

You see colour, lines, shapes and texture – but there are no storylines to guide your understanding. It’s pure visual and personal interpretation, if you insist that it must mean something.

A sculpture made up of stuffed “toys”.

A sculpture made up of stuffed “toys”. Is this a sculpture or installation, or does it matter? It will look just as good in a shopping mall 0r a store window.

Manga objects, a photo taken in Singapore, crazy colours. Photo: Lombard Freid Gallery

Manga objects, a photo taken in Singapore, crazy colours. Photo: Lombard Freid Gallery

A hint of Stella, Dubuffet, Rosenquist

For his colour works, if you squint at them, you will see the ghosts of Frank Stella, Jean Dubuffet, Lichtenstein, and James Rosenquist. You can say Kaneuji is speaking with the vocabulary of these predecessors.

I think he is also constructing his version of the Garden of Earthly Delights for this Singapore project, with an occasional prop from the 10 courts of hell of the Haw Par Villa, the amusement park that was once one of Singapore’s biggest tourist attractions.

Teppei Kaneuji commentary on Singapore — multiracial, multilayered, swirls of cultures – a stark difference from his native, mono-cultural Japan. Acrylic boxes within boxes. Photo: STPI

Teppei Kaneuji’s commentary on Singapore — multiracial, multilayered, swirling with disparate elements – a stark difference from his native, mono-cultural Japan. Acrylic boxes within boxes. Photo: STPI

Teppei Kaneuji’s manga objects on handmade paper. Photo: STPI

Teppei Kaneuji’s manga objects on handmade paper. Photo: STPI

Teppei Kaneuji’s picture made up of random stuff-toys of manga imageries. Photo: STPI

Teppei Kaneuji’s picture made up of random stuffed-toys of manga imageries. Photo: STPI

I find Kaneuji black-and-white manga works, like the one above and below, fun and fascinating!

Manga elements printed on plywood. It looks like it is ready to move!

Manga elements printed on plywood. It looks like it is ready to move!

“Endless, Nameless” By Teppei Kaneuji is on from September 20 – October 25, 2014.

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