Kago’s erotic artwork resists 30 years of censorship through the world’s first blockchain-funded anime
Shintaro Kago, internationally acclaimed manga artist and pioneer of modern Japanese horror, announces the release of his first film with a digital exhibition, titled EVE OF REVOLUTION. Opening Thursday, June 23, EVE OF REVOLUTION is the first behind-the-scenes look at ABSTRACTION, the artist’s groundbreaking blockchain-funded anime. Developed by gallery-led digital platform DRP.io, EVE OF REVOLUTION is an exploration of Kago’s 30-year resistance to censorship as a bizarre manga artist.
This immersive, digital exhibition takes viewers behind the scenes of Kago’s film ABSTRACTION, providing an exclusive insight into the era-defining mind who made modern Japanese horror. By involving collectors in an unconventional production process, EVE OF REVOLUTION subverts the traditional limits of anime, film production, and Kago’s own work. Shintaro Kago has dreamed of making a film since his manga debut in 1988 COMIC BOX. As a leader in erotic and grotesque (Ero Guro) subculture, his iconic surrealist gore developed an underground following in Japan despite mainstream criticism and rejection. The early Internet provided Kago the first space to exhibit his work without publisher censorship, and by the mid-2010s, his role as the founding father of contemporary Asian horror had been universally acknowledged.
But despite international publications and exhibitions, no film studio was ready to risk the controversy of Kago’s animation — so a radically new production process was required. Partnering with gallery-led platform DRP in February 2022, Kago announced an ongoing series of digital exhibitions to fund the world’s first blockchain-backed film. ABSTRACTION is the first project to use digital art sales as a form of “art world crowdfunding”, with all Kago’s NFTs released throughout production providing collectors a stake in the final film’s royalties, as well as VIP access and input in the artist’s creative process. The manga cult master’s inaugural digital art exhibition, DESICCATION, sold out immediately and set auction records for both Kago and the Japanese NFT space.
EVE OF REVOLUTION continues Kago’s challenge of conventional cinematic production in his rebellion against censorship and an alternative approach to filmmaking. The show also provides the first public glimpse of ABSTRACTION, Shintaro Kago’s experimental short based on Biblical tales. Through displaying his character designs and storyboards, EVE OF REVOLUTION provides a unique insight and collector involvement in the development of the first blockchain-funded anime. Always pushing the frontier of socially acceptable norms, Kago teases that his creative decisions come from the universal recognition of these stories – so his film can be enjoyed (or reviled, even) anywhere. “I do not believe that as an artist, you have the right to 100 % speak on or express yourself freely,” Shintaro Kago comments, “It really seems to depend on the situation, time or place.” Censorship has no place in the Metaverse — and Kago’s cinematic rebellion is just the beginning.
EVE OF REVOLUTION is an exhibition of 10 video artworks by Shintaro Kago, which are minted on the Ethereum blockchain and provide collectors an unrestricted view behind the scenes of ABSTRACTION’s production. Character studies and annotated storyboards will be shown alongside standalone works, bridging the Japanese icon’s existent manga practice with unprecedented 3D forms in an unconventional style of interactive production and storytelling. Kago’s primary artistic aim is always “cruel expression” that shocks the viewer. But EVE OF REVOLUTION truly showcases his uncanny talent for juxtaposition – between obscure arthouse cinema and Akira, Japanese yokai and Monty Python, avant-garde Cubism, and universal narratives. Looking behind the pornographic gore, Shintaro Kago’s uncensored knowledge and technical mastery are emerging for the first time.
Shintaro Kago [b. 1969, Tokyo] is a contemporary manga artist, director, and pioneer of modern Japanese horror. Constantly pushing boundaries and rebelling against expectations, his ero guro nansensu has defined Japanese illustration since his manga debut in 1988. An interdisciplinary master working between illustration, animation, sculpture, and creative direction, Kago’s era-defining impact on the Japanese art scene and contemporary horror subculture cannot be overstated.
On the cutting edge between technology and art, DRP.io is a vehicle for blue-chip artists to complement their established practice through the production of experimental digital projects. As the first gallery-led crypto art platform, our mission is to support leading contemporary artists looking to expand their practice into new media via blockchain integration.
Retrofurista is a site on design, interesting things, audio visual arts, and food.