Juxtapoz Magazine – The Ghostly and Cute Sculptures in Mark Ryden’s “Yakalina 9” in Tokyo

Janice K. Johnson


Mark Ryden has always created works with a sense of myth, mystery and an ode to fok art. His legendary status of a man of kitsch is widely-known and revered, and he has become one of the most succesful artists working from the early years of Juxtapoz and the movement that was titled “pop surrealism.” There is a story behind each work, and now with showing with Perrotin (along with Kasmin) in their Asian galleries, there is an expansive and even more nuanced tale being spun. The works in his newest solo show, Yakalina 9, are ghostly and cute, a series of bronze sculptures and drawings of “the mysterious entity Yakalina, the exhibition is conceived as a component of the artist’s upcoming exhibition, Animal Secrets, opening at Perrotin Paris in May.”

The way Perrotin’s Tokyo space is laid out, with a large window to the building’s inner square, makes for a stunning presentation of the bronze works. They seem like totems of a past era, but unable to pinpoint it, they feel utterly new and otherworldly. As the gallery notes, “Yakalina has a long conical body covered with fur apart from the face, whose appearance is both lovely and eerie. This type of long-lasting iconography tradition goes back to the Bronze Age’s imagery and refers to a human or a deity’s figure with outstretched arms symbolizing worshiping and piety.” Ryden takes this and reimagines with his own icon, making the works seem creepily comforting and engaging, in only the way he can. —Evan Pricco





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