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Makoto Aida

Makoto Aida (born 1965, Japan)

The Video from a Man Calling Himself Bin Laden Staying in Japan, 2005

Single channel video, sound, 8 minutes, 14 seconds

Asia Society, New York: Promised Gift of Harold and Ruth Newman.

A prominent artist in contemporary Japanese art since the 1990s, Makoto Aida has dealt with subjects considered taboo for many Japanese. Among the recurring themes in his oeuvre is war and nationalism. In this video shot in an amateurish style, not unlike videos taken by terrorists and sent to foreign media to announce their destructive acts, the artist impersonates the world’s most wanted terrorist in a hypothetical situation—hiding in Japan. He becomes a lazy, sake-drinking old man who, in a drunken stupor, tells the viewer that he has quit being a terrorist and to stop looking for him. The work treads a moral tightrope by referencing the politically charged figure and at the same time becomes a poignant satire of the pacifist and insular political environment of Japan.

Makoto Aida was born in Nigata prefecture, Japan, in 1965. He was initially trained in painting at Tokyo University of the Arts, but has since expanded his artistic range to include photography, sculpture, performance, installation art, urban design, and comic book and novel writing. Aida has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions both in and outside of Japan. His most recent exhibitions include “Wallworks,” Yerba Buena Center of Arts, San Francisco (2009); 17th Biennale of Sydney, Australia (2010); and “E-BAKA,” Mizuma Art Gallery, Tokyo (2010). He is an author of Mutant Hanako (comic), Adolescence and Perversion (novel), and Monument for Nothing (exhibition catalogue), among other publications. Aida is currently a part-time instructor in the Oil Painting Department of Tokyo University of the Arts.

Selected Bibliography

The following works are by Matoko Aida:

Beijing Behind the Art. Tokyo: Daiwa Press Co., 2009.

Monument for Nothing. Tokyo: Graphic-sha Publishing Co., 2007.

Apt.Kubo-So#6. New York: Andrew Roth, 2006.

La Trentaine. ABC Shuppan Co., 2002.

Lonely Planet. Tokyo: Danvo Co., Ltd., 1999.

Mutant Hanako. Tokyo: ABC Shuppan Co., 1999.

Adolescence and Perversion. Tokyo: ABC Shuppan Co., 1996.

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