Axel Wilhite

5 September – 4 October 2014
Opening: 4 September 7–9 pm

20090730-samurai warrior
Menko is a Japanese children’s game played with small cards (similar to baseball cards) elaborately decorated with samurais and other notable historical figures instead of athletes. Axel Wilhite paints on top of these illustrations, sometimes adding to the original image by adding a hat or a flower to a samurai in warrior stance. On other cards, he completely erases the original image, reducing it to its bare lines and then making it anew. Wilhite began working with Menko cards in Chiba, Japan, where he lived for a year while attending school and studying kendo, the art of Japanese swordsmanship. It helped him deal with loneliness of being in a foreign country. “At first, it was something I did for the benefit of my dorm mates, who were also foreigners in Japan,” he says. “Painting the Menko cards is my way of connecting with Japanese culture.”

Kunstverein wishes to thank its (Gold) members and Stadsdeel Zuid. Special thanks to Ahrend.