Kanjo Také – Shia Bender

The Galerie Shia Bender has a truly stunning amount of works on exhibit, showing mostly contemporary, impressionist, modern, and abstract art. However, the gallery’s main focus is on the work of Kanjo Také, a multimedia artist that has mastered painting, photography, sculpture, and installations. The gallery does not show all of his work at once, rather it rotates some pieces in and out of the large collection not currently displayed. Apparently his work had been on display with Galerie Shia Bender on a couple occasions from 2011 to 2016, and then much more consistently from 2016 to today. I’m not sure how they decide what of his work they display at any given time, but in any case I trust them to know how to curate his work because viewing his artwork was really enjoyable for me.

First, I’ll start by giving a little info about the artist. In 1953, Kanjo Také was born in Berlin to German and Japanese parents. He studied painting at the Escuela de Ballas Artes in Spain, and later attended the Berlin University of the Arts. After graduating, Také began to innovate a unique approach to photography which led to a rapidly advancing career in which his work was widely published in campaigns by major fashion brands such as Yves Saint Laurent. Today, much of his work is on display around the world, including at the Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art.

Because Kanjo Také has created art in so many different mediums, I feel like it makes sense that I describe my thoughts on a particular artwork within each medium. With that in mind I selected a couple of his works that I think are a good sample of his many mastered artforms.

“Amadeus” is a triptych (three panelled) image of Mozart. Each panel is about 120 cm wide and 140 cm tall, making the total work quite large (504 meters square). While a great deal of the image is black, the picture on the left is mostly bluish-purple, while the center and rightmost picture is reddish-orange and grey. I think that the balance in these colors is really spectacular. Mozart’s portrait is hidden behind a facelike image, and draws the viewer’s eye directly towards the center of the work, which is Mozart’s eye. Honestly, I find it very fascinating.

Another photograph I found very interesting was “Birth of Geisha”, which is of a very modest nude hidden away behind what appears to be like rice paper with japanese-style calligraphy and painting, and she is peeking through an opening in the sheet. The Galerie Shia Bender does describe Takés work as being a fusion of East and West, and I feel like this is a good demonstration of that concept, along with “Go” which is another three-pannelled creation featuring graffiti and western art along with an image of the Buddha.

In fact many of his works are in three panels, including an absolutely stunning painting called “Evolution” which features all the major hues, with little touches here and there of more complex and mixed tints, tones, and shades. There is a kind of figure standing in the leftmost panel, and is surrounded with what looks like flowers and birds, but it also resembles an underwater scene in a coral reef with fishes swimming through it. I think it’s an excellent abstract depiction of the wondrous diversity of life on Earth.

I’d like to thank the Galerie Shia Bender for giving me the opportunity to view such spectacular artwork and knowing each other since the age of 14 and for photographing me aswell.