Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Japanese Horror-Ween 2: Fuyuko Matsui

Note: I'm now blogging at  It's more attractive, and it focuses more on cool stuff like noisey music, weird art, and fiction.  Check it out!

Fuyuko Matsui (or, in Japanese, Matsui Fuyuko) is a young and fast-rising Japanese artist who produces images that are both explicitly gruesome in a very modern way, and moody, dark, and subtle in the tradition of a certain kind of Japanese ghost story. She is known almost as much for being beautiful and putting a lot of work into self-presentation as she is as an artist - she shows up on the cover of magazines much as would actresses in the U.S.  Naturally, her fame is based on drawings of ghost dogs ripping the living flesh from screaming women:

To see even more, including undead snakes, for chrissakes, try her official site as well as this strangely meticulous livejournal entry (do people still use that?).

I'm really of two minds on Matsui.  As a genre fan, her work is mind-blowing - it's smart, meticulous, titillating, and disgusting.  It takes you to another world just as effectively as the work of people like Rom Villaseran or Brecht Vandenbrouke (see, you learned about THREE artists today!).  But I think that ultimately it's genre work, not Art with a capital DEEP, and the idea that she's some kind of celebrity is a little disquieting.  I don't gather that she's really of the Andy Warhol/Lady Gaga school, where her fame is somehow meta-commentary, and it seems unlikely that such gruesome work would form the foundation for fame if she wasn't also a pretty lady. But nonetheless - this is some great work for those of us with morbid minds.


Katie said...

I agree that her beauty certainly hasn't hurt her popularity - but would her artwork be "better" if she were unattractive? I think the skill of her painting and the emotions that she puts in to them (as described in her own analysis of her major works) really pushes Fuyuko Matsui to the level of true artist. Perhaps you are just being distracted by the grotesque aspect and don't think that grotesque works can be true art?

David Z. Morris said...

You know, all this time later, I do have to retract what I said. This really is art. I'm not sure just why I didn't give it credit at the time. And hey, if she's famous, what's the harm?