Sometimes the pen really is mightier than the sword — not only when it is deployed to capture in words the loftiest philosophical ruminations, but also when, through pictures, it causes heroes to tremble and fall. For skilled satirists, trenchant humor is a potent tool.
The Tokyo-based, Scottish artist Jack McLean is a master of a certain kind of super-dry satire, whose mischievousness is on view at The Container, a small, alternative-space gallery in the capital's Nakameguro district. In just a few years, this replica of a metal shipping container, installed inside a hip haircutting salon, has become a much-watched venue for conceptual and other forms of contemporary art.
McLean's exhibition, titled "It's a Long Story, in Full Colour, Without a Happy Ending," includes a large drawing in oil-ink pen and watercolor on canvas, which fills the gallery's far wall, and two long, horizontal drawings made with the same materials, which radiate out from it on either side like cartoon friezes. Also on view is a large, papier-mache airplane, a prop from one of McLean's performance art events.