Renowned as a filmmaker abroad and adored as a TV host and comedian at home, “Beat” Takeshi Kitano is perhaps Japan’s greatest living entertainer.

Most recently, Takeshi made his mark as an artist, showcasing a collection of original paintings, bizarre objects and interactive installations in his first major exhibition, held in 2010 at the Foundation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris.

If you didn’t get the chance to fly out to Paris 2 years ago, fear not: the exhibition, titled “Gosse de peintre,” is now at the Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery in Shinjuku until September 2!

We recently had the opportunity to attend a promotional event held at the exhibition and can say with confidence that, whether you’re more familiar with the dark and witty Kitano on the big screen or the goofy jokester Beat on TV, “Gosse de peintre” captures the essence of Takeshi and is a must-do for any fan.

While photography is normally forbidden at the exhibition, the staff were kind enough to make an exception for us during the event, and take photos we did. In fact, if you’re planning on visiting the exhibition yourself, you may not want to scroll down to the bottom of the page as the pictures do contain spoilers: many of the pieces on display feature subtle gimmicks and gags that should be enjoyed in person if possible.

That said, our particular favorite were the “secret weapons” of the Imperial Japanese Navy and Army. A whale grafted to a fighter plane and an armor-plated elephant with a large gun mounted on its trunk would surely have turned the tides of war had they only been deployed in time.

Of course, there are also more serious works on display. The walls are lined with paintings from when Takeshi first picked up a brush during rehabilitation following a motorcycle accident in 1994 that left his face partially paralyzed.

While we think there is plenty to keep you entertained at the exhibition, there is also a gift shop next door stocked with plenty of Takeshi-related merchandise for you to take home in case you didn’t get your fill.

So what does Takeshi want viewers to take away from this exhibition?

Nothing, probably. ” I don’t define myself as a contemporary artist. I’m just a modest idea maker. I feel very embarrassed when people define me as an artist. I want to show pieces. Easy to understand, funny pieces. I want to share with you the pleasure that I had by creating this exhibition,” he says during a press conference at the original Paris exhibition.

“I think everyone is expecting there to be some meaning behind the images or objects on display. There isn’t. I just want you to have fun.”

Beat Takeshi Kitano, Gosse de peintre
Friday, 13 April – Sunday, 2 September, 2012
Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery

Admission: Adult 1,300 yen, university and high school student 1000 yen, junior high and elementary students 800 yen.

Hours: 11:00 – 19:00 (to 20:00 on Fridays and Saturdays. entry up to 30 minutes before closing.) Closed on Mondays (Tuesday if the Monday is a public holiday), 5 August (Maintenance day).

Source: Beat Takeshi Kitano, Gosse de Peintre
Photos: RocketNews24, © Office Kitano Inc.

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