Visceral Gestures: Writing Susumu Kamijo’s Art

Some months ago, in a haze of art talk and chats about Samuel Beckett and Kobo Abe, I told Susumu Kamijo that I would love to write about his art. It was an impulsive thing to say, considering that I have never written about any art that I have loved or hated. Usually the marginalia of my notebooks, littered with thoughts about Ivan Kožarić’s (radical) ideas regarding public space and how Francis Bacon lights upon a dark background, is just that—thoughts that remain somewhere unwritten in sentences. They are reduced to ideas I want to pursue but do not. They are my private consumption habits about art and the artists. My strange forays into rabbit holes that make me look up strange art movements and its off-shoots.

With Susumu Kamijo’s art, the thing that attracted me is the apparent lightness of it. It still seems to me like it is an elaborate and large-scale trick where everyone is only pretending that his poodle paintings are fluffy and cute, when it seems so much clearer that there is something sinister that is revealed to a lay consumer of art when the poodle forms starts becoming something else.

Most of my writing came down to decoding the “something else” part of that. And after quite a few drafts and a few chats with the artist, the press release was published online when they announced the solo show for Perrotin’s Seoul gallery.