Keenan Jay
"Our Autobiography"
February 9, 2018
through March 15, 2018
"Our Autobiography" presents a series of nine 35mm photographs taken by the artist in Japan, illustrated in the style of anime backgrounds. The images evoke "aspect to aspect" sequencing, a stylistic feature idiosyncratic to the tradition of manga and anime in which frames do not function according to narrative telos and instead articulate the broader setting through the association of its specific, banal details. Having been raised partially in Tokyo, manga and anime has been a resonant culture of subject-formation for the artist. Particularly compelling is the nichijou kei (slice of life) genre, whose unspectacular stories of romance or coming-of-age occur against the familiar scenery of everyday Japanese life. To reflect the felt confluence of discrete cultural identities in globalism, the artist has outsourced the illustrations from non-Japanese, anime-inspired artists— thus people who share a similar identification yet inevitable alienation from Japanese culture. The images were processual in, as well as expressive of, narrative form's affective significance to the production of secular meaning for the artist. In framing and thus elevating the trivialities of daily life, aspect to aspect sequencing in the everyday settings of nichijou kei connect tendencies within anime and manga to the modern, secular impulse to narrativize one's own, ordinary life in order to imbue it with meaning. The modern iteration of this impulse has assumed a central role in the production of existential value since Romanticism, indicated by the first modern autobiography, Rousseau's Confessions, and the literature of its legacy, notably Proust's In Search of Lost Time. Such an autobiographical concern is at the heart of "Our Autobiography," which provides just one specific expression of the more universal consequence of today's culture industry in producing the orientation necessary to the continuation of modern life. Keenan Jay is an artist who lives and works in Portland, OR. "5 yen coin on twig" 2016 Pigmented ink on polyester film, LED hardware 9 x 14 inches "smiling hat" 2016 Pigmented ink on polyester film, LED hardware 9 x 14 inches "covered car in carport" 2015 Pigmented ink on polyester film, LED hardware 9 x 14 inches "wet footprints on rock" 2015 Pigmented ink on polyester film, LED hardware 9 x 14 inches "Roppongi Highway" 2015 Pigmented ink on polyester film, LED hardware 9 x 14 inches "discarded walkway tiles" 2016 Pigmented ink on polyester film, LED hardware 9 x 14 inches "office Mucha transparency" 2015 Pigmented ink on polyester film, LED hardware 9 x 14 inches "OIOI" 2016 Pigmented ink on polyester film, LED hardware 9 x 14 inches ""irasshaimase" curb ramp" 2016 Pigmented ink on polyester film, LED hardware 9 x 14 inches all photos by Keenan Jay
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