Celebrated Japanese art creator Kohei Nawa visited The Broad recently for a limited engagement Spring preview and artist talk at the Oculus Hall arranged by Japan House LA. The place was packed and I can see why! Nawa’s artwork be it paintings, sculptures, performance-inspired pieces or others, go beyond the recognized Japanese themes of manga and anime to offer a new perspective altogether on contemporary art.
At the talk, the artist showed videos of his work, explaining some of his processes and taking the audience on a bit of a journey understanding his creative workflow. I still cannot believe some of the pieces he discussed – the amount and nature of creative thought and implementation is mind-blowing. Clearly, he is a man of vision and the patience to see it through. His talk earned thunderous applause and at the champagne reception hosted later in the evening by Japan House, he interacted with guests while displaying five of his pieces in the museum shop.
For me, with each collection he showed and talked about, I think I was most mesmerized by the fact that he wasn’t constrained by any boundaries whatsoever in terms of how he worked – his ideas, the materials he used, the manner in which he went about fulfilling each idea to his satisfaction…I couldn’t even begin to comprehend where that stems from, the man’s a genius, end of story!
During his presentation, he chatted about his Pixcell series, which is mixed media work with taxidermied material. Another piece, Manifold, in aluminum and paint, was manufactured in China, assembled in Japan and then sent off to Korea…wait, what?! Yup, read that right.
Relatively young for an artist his stature (he’s a little over 40-years-old!), Nawa studied sculpture through school and has been exhibiting solo since 2002 as well as participating in group exhibitions since 2007. The closest you can get to a public collection of his works here in the U.S is Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York so if you can get to a limited engagement presentation like this one or are lucky to be living in a city where his work is exhibited, you must visit!