Why Andrew Gilbert and Akiyoshi Mishima Belong in the Same Room
“I’m from Edinburgh, which is the whitest, blandest porridge on earth, and have lived in Germany for eight years with no television, so I’m not an expert on contemporary culture, but I think the enemy is still there, even if it hides behind a veil made of Shakira’s breasts,”Andrew Gilbert once said. Fascinated by military history since childhood—as a kid, Gilbert drew pictures of the Zulu war—today his artwork replicates tragic histories of war in contemporary context, in caricatures like British soldiers incarnate as birds.
It’s no surprise, then, in a new exhibition at Nanzuka Gallery in Japan, to find Gilbert’s work paired with Akiyoshi Mishima, whose past works, too, have looked at recurring cycles of glory and catastrophe. Despite the artists’ entirely different cultural heritage—Mishima from Osaka, Japan, and Gilbert having never visited the country prior the exhibition—together, they create a world filled with fictional ethnic cultures, histories, and mythologies.