Rei Sato at Kaikai Kiki Gallery

Rei Sato is one of Japan’s brilliant young artists who are part of Kaikai Kiki, the studio of Takashi Murakami.
Her whimsical lyrical works take the pop manga style of the Murakami School, defiant, maddeningly vibrant, so hardened and cynical, a step further, perhaps, in a more serene and introverted direction.
They give a view of the world of a child fingerpainting fish, the happy sun, girls with quizzical expressions and weedlike flowers, sometimes on fabric, sometimes on enlarged photos that are lazy snapshots, like those taken on cell phones, purposely making no assertions whatsoever except in seeing, recording and being.
A makeshift cafe at the gallery _ low coffee tables, muted lighting, a guitarist sending bubbly sounds through electronic equipment, hushed conversations _ also included a book shelf filled with knickknacks: fuzzy stuffed animals, figures, plastic watches, books, a half-filled pot of herb tea, tawdry memorabilia, everyday items that give glimpses into the artist’s mind.
Making your way toward the back, ducking hanging beads and pieces of cloth of different colors, you see that the works become more and more like scribbles, pencil drawings of tiny girls, forgotten notes, scrawled on bits of paper, fragments of thoughts, mischievous markings on newspaper. And in the very back next to old posters of Japanese movies are graphic art from Yumeji Takehisa and the words:
“I want to be a poet.”