Jesse Kanda is the man that never wanted to grow up. Together with the philosophy of endless imagination and the unaffected subconscious, Jesse works with infancy imagination and creates playful art, without any boundaries and where nothing is impossible.
“When you’re a kid, you have an endless imagination. I was always afraid of growing up – It was so much fun to make things up, and that’s still what I try to do every day”, he says in a interview for Dazed.
Jesse Kanda is a Japanese-born, Canadian- raised 26-year-old self-taught video artist based in Dalston, London. He lives together with the Venezuelan producer Arca, his best friend and creative partner. The two artists make collaborations together; recently, TRAUMA, a film project in seven parts that’s premiering at galleries such as MoMA PS1. In TRAUMA, Kanda plays with the perception of “disgusting and grotesque things”, and tries to catch the beauty of it instead.
Kanda also designed all the artwork and imagery for Arca’s Xen album, a concept named after a fictional androgynous alter ego of Arca. Xen is a grotesquerie whose body blends gendered anatomies, and portraying Arca in various ages and scenarios in his/hers life – dancing, walking the dog, and performing self-pleasure.
“The purity of the music and the purity of the imagery, that’s what makes it powerful. No dumbing down, no middlemen. We did the front cover for her album in my room, with my shitty lights, and no people running around. I have the most control when I do everything myself”, Jesse says.
Kanda have also directed videos for the artist FKA Twigs. In “How’s that”, he plays with the female body as something mutant, something that is not unchangingly perfect, as a plastic doll for the men’s pleasure.
Jesse Kanda’s work is definitely extending empathy towards a grotesque and queer femininity and there is no one else making videos like him today.