Shohei Otomo in Paris - Loop in Paris
From 26 January until March 11th 2017
Where: Archive 18-20 in Rue des Archives, Paris
All the articles i encountered so far regarding Shohei Otomo normally sound like this at the beginning: "Son of the great creator of Akira Katsuhiro Ōtomo...."
Shohei Otomo might have inherited from his father great drawing skills ... But that's not him actually.
I met hin on January 26th at Archive 18-20 in the Marais District. He's a cool guy, open minded, friendly, presenting the project "Loop in Paris". He presented a sets of pen drawings of Japanese Cops smoking pot, or still captured them in in-habitual situations (eating, smoking from a can...). These drawings were then represented/ applied on a vinyl disk, in 'Loop'.
First thing i felt entering in was actually this weird noise. It was disturbing and i did not know exactly from where it came from. I'm not comfortable when i feel i do not belong to a place... i mean, there were a lot of people that night and I am always feeling as a real outsider in these situations. "Something is weird" i only thought. And then, when i survived the crowd, i saw the collection.
First thing was the visual effect of course. "Eyes want their meat". How the f***k can a human being draw like this using a common pen??? i can barely use a f*****g pen to write a number when i'm on the phone! I smiled thinking about it. Then the noise came back.
I had a glass of wine and came back, more seriously, to have a look to what he did on my own. There was something deeper behind those perfect lines.
The idea was... punk. I'm Italian so i know corruption. I saw it with my own eyes when i was a teenager...and not only back then. It's not hidden, a little, but not really. It was culturally touching having these images in front of me. A Japanese cop, symbol of order and law, smoking forbidden pot. Pot that never killed. Pot that is less killer that an "approved" cigarette. Can't see his eyes: he can be one, no-one or a thousand faces. I wondered if that way of expressing "the forbidden" was very shocking for Japanese culture. From my point of view, what he did was really sincere.
One person next to me said: "Wow, this is surely perceived as outrageous by Japanese culture!"... I could not understand. It was "the true of the human nature" from my point of view. There was nothing outrageous... just sincerity. After all, you choose how to look at it: a guy smoking pot, or a man in uniform breaking the rules. The noise in loop on my back made all these thoughts more real.
I invite you to enter in this Loop.
Access if free, staff is friendly. And it's the best way to break from the slavery of the Métro-boulot-dodo we find ourselves stuck into. He is not just drawing: he makes you think.
It's cynical, It's real.
May life always treat you gently.