Keiichi Tanaami

The Laughing Spider


Digital Animation, colour, sound


Courtesy of Karma International, Zurich/LA and Nanzuka, Tokyo


The animated video The Laughing Spider, as part of Tanaami’s second exhibition at Karma International in 2016 in Zurich, represents a recurring character throughout the show: the anthropomorphic Arachnid inspired by the smiling spiders created by Odilon Redon. Tanaami’s continued use of appropriation is evident in visions of Katsushika Hokusai’s Great Wave and Lichtenstein’s iconic, onomatopoeic “CRASH!” and “BRATATATATATAT!” throughout the video. The emphasis on sound in The Laughing Spider is imperative in the eerie and unnerving voices of laughing, squealing and crying. Both characters and objects somehow become entangled in the spider’s web.


Keiichi Tanaami was born in Tokyo in 1936 and graduated from Musashino Art University. He has been active in graphic design, illustration, and fine arts since the 1960s, never heeding the boundaries of mediums or genres but instead aggressively traversing them. Though his spectacular debut as a designer during his student days is well known, few know that during that same time he was tirelessly creating works of fine art as well, exhibiting at the Yomiuri Independent exhibition and holding a solo show at the Tsubaki-Kindai Gallery.


Excerpts from the press release of the exhibition Keiichi Tanaami The Laughing Spider at Karma International, Zurich, 2016.