Emperor of Pop KEIICHI TANAAMI’s Sculptures of Cranes, Elephants, High Heels, Phalluses, and Naked Women

A major figure in Japanese Pop art, KEIICHI TANAAMI was born in Tokyo in 1936, the eldest son of a textile wholesaler. When the Great Tokyo Air Raid ravaged the Japanese capital in 1945 Tanaami was nine years old, and he watched the firebombing from a shelter in his grandfather’s home, built below a tank of goldfish. “The whole sky went dark orange, then bombs fell,” the artist remembers. “The goldfish reflected that bright orange light. It was very bright and dazzling, very beautiful.” Much more than Speed Racer, Astro Boy, LSD, or sex appeal, it was the impact of war in Tanaami’s childhood that forms the basis of his imagination and work, which spans graphic design, illustration, animation, and sculpture.

NO MORE WAR is a series of wooden and paper sculptures Tanaami made during the late 1970s and 80s, a period marked by the artist’s critical health due to pulmonary edema, which often leads to respiratory failure. Although Tanaami admits that these works were made to provide his fans with something fun yet reasonably priced, they are also a complex mix of the artist’s dreams and memories. Based on a traditional Japanese children’s toy called Tatebanko, which are dioramas assembled from Ukiyo-e silkscreen prints, the sculptures combine forms of cranes, elephants, high heels, phalluses, and naked women with strange architectural moulds. Imbued with a sense of play and no clear endgame, Tanaami’s sculptures are like Pop Rorschach objects that treat sex, death, and architecture in equal measure.




  • ALL A DAT ALL A DAT: Rap Crew 67 Can Make Anything

    Members ASAP, Monkey, LD, Dimzy, Liquez, and SJ are branching out. “67 can release rizla,” says LD ahead of the UK drill collective’s appearance this weekend in Berlin. “Not everybody can do that. A lot of people are just rappers.”More
  • 032c Resist Collection

    032c Resist Pin

  • David Ostrowski Brings Bauhaus to Warsaw’s Galeria Wschód

    The painter David Ostrowski has been off the radar for the last few years. A former student of Albert Oehlen and graduate of the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Ostrowski is best known for his large abstract paintings, which often include the use of spray cans and a formalistic approach to shape. Now he's back, with a new body of work and two shows – the first of which opens in Warsaw at the progressive gallery space Wschód this weekend.More
  • 032c WWB Collection

    032c WWB Rugby Shirt Black

    Buy Now
  • Anders Haal and Nicole Walker Imagine Total Fluidity on Humanity’s Next Planet

    The late Stephen Hawking was convinced that humanity's time on Earth was coming to a close, and proposed Proxima Centauri b as a second planetary home. The transition off-world is one subject in a new fashion book by stylist Nicole Walker and Anders Haal, founder of Stockholm-based fashion label HAAL, that considers the illogic of borders on a cosmic scale. Here we preview the book's opening visual essay.More
  • 032c WWB Collection

    032c WWB “Chevignon by 032c” Cosmo Jacket Green

    Buy Now
  • RBMA Co-Founder Many Ameri on Two Decades of Musical Exchange

    Since 1998, the Red Bull Music Academy has provided a roving laboratory for emerging musicians to incubate ideas and grow. Twenty years later the Academy, which takes place every Fall, has returned to Berlin – the city where it all started. 032c spoke to co-founder Many Ameri for personal highlights and reflections on a city in flux.More