Art Fairs & Exhibitions
Yoshitomo Nara’s First Australian Solo Exhibition
From 26 February to 25 June 2023, Yoshitomo Nara: Reach Out to The Moon, Even If We Can't will be on view at The Art Gallery of Western Australia (AGWA). This show marks Yoshitomo Nara's first Australian solo exhibition and brings together major sculptural works alongside paintings, drawings, ceramics, and photography by the world-renowned artist.
Nara rose to international prominence in the 1990s for his exquisitely rendered, instantly recognisable portraits of alternately sweet and vicious big-headed figures and melancholic figurative sculptures. His work in all mediums is the result of his innovative distillation of an enormous array of references and inspirations. These include memories of growing up in rural Northern Japan amidst the lingering presence of World War II, political events of the 1960s and 1970s, the sound and graphics of pop, rock and folk music, literature, art from Japan’s Edo and modern period, as well as the new expressionism he encountered while studying and living in Germany in the late 1980s and 1990s. All of which, and more, is finely honed into work that is both intimate and worldly, full of rebellious protest and powerful poise.
Miss Tannen by Yoshitomo Nara, 2012, fibre-reinforced polymer, on loan from the artist. Courtesy of Pace Gallery. ©YOSHITOMO NARA.
When you feel so sad by Yoshitomo Nara, 2012, fibre-reinforced polymer, on loan from the artist. Courtesy of Pace Gallery. ©YOSHITOMO NARA.
Spanning works from 2011-2022, Yoshitomo Nara: Reach Out to The Moon, Even If We Can't will allow Australian audiences access to key works from Nara’s recent output. This is a time in which Nara has been processing the devastating impact of the Fukushima disaster of 11 March 2011, which saw his hometown region hit by the combined effects of an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear reactor breakdown. In the face of this, Nara found himself unable to make art. He found his way back to his practice through his body as he started making clay sculptures that physically engaged him; from this intuitive process came a renewed focus on three-dimensional forms that then expanded in scale and stretched across other mediums.
Midnight pilgrim by Yoshitomo Nara, 2012, fibre-reinforced polymer, on loan from the artist. Courtesy of Pace Gallery. ©YOSHITOMO NARA.
Bud vase Mt Fuji by Yoshitomo Nara, 2011, ceramic, on loan from the artist. Courtesy of Pace Gallery. ©YOSHITOMO NARA.
Taking the guise of (mostly) human heads, the resulting works grew to be a deep and prolonged meditation on the interconnected vulnerability of all life on this planet. Equally, each work is inflected with a kind of cautious optimism that has, in fact, been central to Nara’s work since the 1980s as he consistently honours the power of individual expression and imagination, especially in the darkest of times.
Girl with eyepatch by Yoshitomo Nara, 2018, acrylic on canvas, private collection. Courtesy of Blum & Poe, Los Angeles. ©YOSHITOMO NARA.
Dramatically presented in AGWA's largest gallery space, the sculptural works will form a series of interrelated islands that span a range of feeling states. Individually and collectively, they demonstrate Nara's unsurpassed ability to convey emotional nuance with clarity and moving intensity. The feeling of these works is echoed by surrounding drawings, paintings, and ceramics in Nara's distinctive style, such as Girl with eyepatch and Peace in Your Heart. Some show the development of specific sculptural works, while others, like Love or Nuclear, connect to the anti-nuclear theme he has engaged with for decades now.
Reach out to the moon, even if we can't by Yoshitomo Nara, 2016, ceramic, on loan from the artist. Courtesy of Pace Gallery. ©YOSHITOMO NARA.
"Yoshitomo Nara is one of the world's most important and popular artists, and I’ve personally been a long-time fan. Over his career, Nara has captured the imagination of millions, and I’m thrilled that AGWA now has the privilege of connecting his practice directly with people here. I’m also incredibly excited to do so with such a powerful selection of his emotionally-loaded figurative works. I think it will be one of our most loved exhibitions yet." - Colin Walker, AGWA Director
WP1 by Yoshitomo Nara, 2022, acrylic and grease pencil on canvas, on loan from the artist. Courtesy of Pace Gallery. ©YOSHITOMO NARA.
About The Art Gallery of Western Australia
Situated in the heart of Perth's cultural centre, The Art Gallery of Western Australia houses the state art collection, WA's premier visual arts asset. The Gallery is highly regarded for its collection of works by Western Australian and First Nations artists, its innovative approach to collection display and a vibrant program of leading contemporary exhibitions and events. The Gallery was founded in 1895 and occupies a precinct of three heritage buildings on the south-eastern corner of the Perth Cultural Centre, including the former Perth Police Courts. The main Gallery opened in 1979 and is a unique Brutalist building by architect Charles Sierakowski.
Exhibition Dates: 26 February - 25 June 2023
Address: The Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth Cultural Centre, Perth, WA 6000
Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.
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