Olivier Boscovitch paints garish canvases covered in baby manga heroes, New York street scenes, vodka labels. Like the city of Tokyo, his paintings don't let an inch of valuable commercial space go to waste: prices and special offer flashes sear across them. All sums, in francs, are the actual asking prices of the works.

A gay jewish otaku with the louche manner of a young Alan Ginsberg, Boscovitch has the charm (not to mention the tongue-in-cheek opportunism) of the 1980s Jeff Koons, crossed with the delicate decadence of the 1880s Aubrey Beardsley.

He's one of a new breed of Europeans who see their own culture through Japanese eyes. But unlike the classic orientalism of Manet and Debussy, who were impressed by the austerity of Japanese court culture (Noh, Hokusai, haiku), Boscovitch seizes on the pink, fluffy pop culture of manga, Japan's most successful cultural export ever.

The bastard union of Tintin, Warhol and Astroboy, Olivier Boscovitch is very cool indeed.




Toshio Iwai is best known for giving cult Japanese children's television show Ugo Ugo Lhuga its visual style. Children interact live with robots animated on a primitive (but very flexible) Amiga system. A turd rises from a toilet to advise everybody to carry an umbrella because it's raining today. Two sumos battle in a ring, guided by kids' voices screaming down a telephone line.

But Iwai has been devising friendly and flexible systems since he made flip book animations at school. He's a master of little bleeping, chirruping electronic organisms which seem to have a life of their own (for example the musical insects he invented for Nintendo). He understands the gripped, rapt state we enter when playing with machines, but tries to give us more interesting ways to interact with them.

If I were Frankenstein's monster, I'd choose Toshio Iwai to design my bride.

Index