Artist in Focus: Sawako Kabuki
- English subtitles
With her latest work Summer’s Puke is Winter’s Delight , Sawako Kabuki delivers yet another unique piece of animation. The Japanese animator specialises in super cute cartoons full of vomit and bum holes. Plenty of reason to make Kabuki this year’s artist in focus, and to screen every one of the eight quirky, funny-erotic short animations she has made thus far.
Sawako Kabuki (Tokyo, 1990) tends to keep the descriptions of her work short. In the press notes for her debut Circle in 2010, she offered just two times seven words of explanation. Synopsis: “The theme of this animation is circle.” Director’s note: “This is my first time making animation.” There, done. To say more would be silly: the short of just over one minute speaks for itself.
Kabuki would continue to use the shapes and themes of that first short in the years to come, in new ways each time. Just like the simple line drawings – of nude women and voracious men – in primary colours that make up her work that keep on changing shape in an endless metamorphosis for repetitions and variations.
Before starting her studies at Tama Art School in Tokyo she worked for a porn producer, and that fascination can still be found in her work. In 2015, Pluk screened Kabuki’s short film Master Blaster, which shows a girl trying to hide herself away in the rectum of a potential lover. It’s telling of Kabuki’s themes. “Lightly erotic” is how she describes her own work. They’re admittedly full of nudity and reveal an endless fascination with bodily orifices and fluids. But whether that’s erotic remains to be seen. It’s certainly sweet, and cruel, and fascinating.
Ici, là et partout
Director Sawako Kabuki explains it best: “This film is filled with love, and shows the state of being carried away by love. But it’s almost impossible to understand each other completely even though they loved each other very very much and sometimes it causes heartbreak. And when this film was completed, my boyfriend left me.”
“At that time, this was my mood,” is the only thing Sawako Kabuki has said about her second short Requiem. The short shows naked male and female bodies continually transforming and spilling over into each other, accompanied by Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem.
“The theme of this animation is circle”, creator Sawako Kabuki writes in her notes accompanying her animation debut Circle. And to say more would be silly: the short of just over a minute speaks for itself.
ANAL JUKE – anal juice –
Remember Sawako Kabuki telling us she got dumped by her boyfriend after making her graduation project? This short focuses on Kabuki going through the sadness of her break-up, mixed in with the tense atmosphere in the air in Japan during the aftermath of Fukushima.
Nou Nen feat.utae
We’ll leave writing the synopsis for this one to creator Sawako Kabuki herself: “Ex-girlfriend & Internal cum & Emergency contraception & Man pained at the gap between ideals and reality.”
Don’t Tell Mom
Sawako Kabuki calls this short a nocturnal education film of all the things that your mother needn’t know. You could only wish that sex-ed was this positive and fun at your school.
Summer’s Puke Is Winter’s Delight
A work of non-fiction, is what film-maker Sawako Kabuki calls her latest film. Granted, documentary is not the first thing you think about when looking at her colourful illustrations that seem to be endlessly regenerating. But Kabuki’s movies are certainly heartfelt.