© IIDA Yoshiko

The Civilization of Monsters

ArtistKISHIMOTO Sayako
Material/ Techniqueacrylic, water-based paint, crayon on canvas
Size/ DurationH144×W561cm、H144×W1020cm
Copyright Notice© IIDA Yoshiko
Year of acquisition/ donation2003
DescriptionBorn in Aichi, Japan in 1939. Died there in 1988.

Kishimoto Sayako was involved in the movement of “Neo Dadaism Organizers” which was formed in Tokyo in the 1960s, and worked actively presenting performance and painting until she died in 1988. Her diverse works were always based on severe criticism on the social framework consisting of male-driven culture, power-oriented culture and phallic society. In the 1980s in particular, through aggressive activities in giving performances and showing dynamic paintings, she deepened her social criticism further raising questions about the way the individual should be and selfexpression.

Kishimoto viewed society over the past 2000 years as pyramidal in structure and marked by the ‘dominance of male culture’ and a ‘culture of might-isright.’ She believed that in such a society people were forced to compete to get to the top, with the weak kicked down to the bottom. In contrast to this, Kishimoto’s ideal society had an inverted triangle structure in which people competed to get to the bottom, with Kishimoto herself positioned at the base as a ‘messenger from hell’ shouldering the responsibilities of others. Based on this view, Kishimoto produced a variety of pieces in the 1980s. In "21c. Erotical Flying Machines – A trip to the Galaxy", Kishimoto turns into an incarnation of the ‘messenger from hell’ in the form of a pink grasshopper and is shown overcoming various difficulties in her search for a utopia for the weak. "White Mountain Gorilla" depicts a captured gorilla as a symbol of freedom and love being set free. Based on the viewpoint that primitive society prior to the emergence of patriarchal society and phallic society was in fact the ideal world, "The Civilization of Monsters" expresses a vivid, primordial vitality.