The CAC returns with 21st century pop art

Keiichi Tanaami's 'An ode to Jakuchi' is the first painting on display.
Keiichi Tanaami's 'An ode to Jakuchi' is the first painting on display. / ÑITO SALAS
  • The council-owned art centre has reopened with a powerful collective exhibition

Keiichi Tanaami will soon be celebrating his 83rd birthday, Hajime Sorayama is 72 and Harumi Yamaguchi is 78. Because of their age, they may be seen as 20th-century rather than 21st-century artists, until you stand in front of their works and experience their abundant vitality in the use of colour and the way they use subjects which combine tradition with the avant-garde, both oriental and western.

These three Asian artists are among those featured in a powerful exhibition which has just opened at the Contemporary Art Centre (CAC) in Malaga, which after two weeks of closure has 'revived' its cultural life with the collective display titled 'MSD_Make something different'.

It takes a look at 21st-century pop art and at the same time provides an extremely interesting bridge between oriental and western manifestations of culture. It does so with 69 works by 25 artists, including famous names in contemporary art such as Mark Ryden, KAWS, Erik Parker, Todd James and James Jarvis. Two of Malaga's best-known artists, Javier Calleja and Julio Anaya, have also created specific installations for this exhibition, which continues until 30 June.

The works are on loan from different private collections and have been brought to Malaga by gallery owner Shinji Nanzuka, curator of the exhibition, together with Alicia Gutiérrez, who at the opening expressed her gratitude to the private collectors for the free loan of the works. She also thanked the artists for their commitment to an exhibition which seeks to "maintain the standard which this art centre deserves".

"The idea of this exhibition is to encourage a change of perspective about 21st century art," said Nanzuka.

The two local artists have definitely done that, with their works for this exhibition. Julio Anaya obtained Mark Ryden's permission to recreate one of his paintings on a wall, and has turned it into an enigmatic and interesting trompe l'oeil.

The ' Calleja Chapel'

Round the corner from this, Javier Calleja has a space of his own which could almost be called the 'Calleja Chapel': a corner of the main room where he has combined his large-scale creations with drawings, different canvases and works on paper with an installation which adjoins sculpture with the text on the wall. Without detracting from the other powerful works which surround it, this corner by Calleja on its own makes a visit worthwhile.

"I am really proud to be sharing an exhibition with a group of artists including those who are in my 'Top 5' favourites," said Calleja, before praising the work of the curators and the team from the council's Culture department who managed to set up the exhibition in record time. "They are a group of brave women who are able to keep this exhibition room open when it would have been much easier to have left it closed," he said.