'Cute. The Dark Side'

Cute and dark, naughty and evil. 'Cute. The Dark Side' explores the hidden messages and meanings behind the art of some of the most important contemporary artists of the new millennium including Yoshitomo Nara, Damien Hirst, Takashi Murakami, Charming Baker, Javier Calleja and David Shrigley alongside a new generation of artists whom they have inspired.


So cute! But what does it say? ‘Cute. The Dark Side’ delves deep into the psychological and emotive responses behind the aesthetic styles of dark humour, Superflat and Kawaii and how they have the power to change the way young people think and behave, enabling them to express their thoughts and feelings more candidly and to cope with life’s pressures in a more positive and life-affirming manner.


Superflat is a postmodern art movement founded by Takashi Murakamioroginally influenced by Manga and Anime. The Superflat style refers to the history of non-three-dimensional styles of Japanese art but also remarks on the flat shallowness of consumer culture.

Yume Kawaii (Dream Cute) centres on fantasy dreams and nightmares, embodying a cute and romanticised world view in pastel colours. The fashion accessories usually consist of sleep masks, fluffy skirts or pants, loose socks and platform shoes.

Yami Kawaii (Cute Sick) is an aesthetic mash-up of frills, hearts and pretty fonts that have emanated out of the streets of Japan and manifested through the display of symbols such as fake guns, pills, syringes, gas masks, bandages and band aids.