Takagi Masakatsu: World Is So Beautiful

Though Takagi Masakatsu has issued two inspired DVD projects in 2006, both were, in fact, released years ago: the CD-DVD project Journal For People and the DVD World Is So Beautiful first appeared in 2002 on Harumi Hosono's (ex-Yellow Magic Orchestra) Daisyworld label. World Is So Beautiful was created as a collaboration between Masakatsu and the French fashion designer agnes b., its videos initially displayed in nine agnes b. shops in Japan and subsequently at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo and at The Singapore Art Museum. Inspired by the agnes b. winter 2002-03 collection, Masakatsu created ten videos using footage he'd compiled from journeys to Turkey, Guatemala, Cuba, Indonesia, Nepal, Germany, Japan, and France.

Masakatsu's videos are brilliantly coloured wonderlands that champion diversity and celebrate humanity. He typically saturates the footage with painterly effects, and complements the visuals with rich tapestries of electronic and traditional sounds. We watch colourful sprites dancing in a Japanese forest, swimmers in Havana, Cuba silhouetted against cerulean waters accompanied by tinkling piano cascades and swirling voice patterns, and traditional musicians in Xela, Guatemala almost exploding with colour as they perform a waltz. In “Run on the Planet,” figures hike through solarized landscapes to a jazz-gamelan soundtrack, while in the captivating “Sorina Street,” a child plays an accordion on a street in Istanbul, Turkey. The title piece—the work's thematic essence—emphasizes the natural footage of joyous children running, doing cartwheels, and playing soccer with music box melodies treated as a delicate backdrop. Masakatsu's life-affirming vision, so refreshingly free of cynicism, is wondrously realized by this presentation.

December 2006