Stars is Yoshitomo Nara’s second exhibition at Pace, the first one in the Hong Kong gallery.
The exhibition presents recent works by the Japanese artist, combining his adolescent figures with star imagery and his work with burlap.
The youthful nature of Nara‘s figures conjures childish notions of the star, varying from from earning a gold star as a reward for good work in school to the optimism of childish bromides such as “shoot for the stars” and “wish upon a star.” The latter phrase highlights the way stars can be read as harbingers, auguring the fulfillment of a wish or something more sinister.
The exhibition also features a 2011 acrylic and pen work on a wood panel shaped like the four-point stars in the more recent paintings, establishing the motif in his oeuvre.
Nara‘s works on various surfaces such as cardboard and jute on wood create different effects for the paint. In several of his new works, he uses jute stitched together that is then stretched over a wood panel. The stitched jute creates a textural surface of irregular gridded lines that, coupled with the wood panel, lend the work an almost sculptural quality. Nara seeks to counterbalance these forces by painting in flat blocks of color devoid of texture evocative of Japanese woodcuts. This technique of flattened paint distinguishes itself from the layering of diaphanous and airy pigments that characterize much of his work, yet finds precedent in his earlier billboard paintings.
Yoshitomo Nara (b. 1959, Aomori, Japan) was raised in Japan and completed his education in Germany. Nara integrates elements of his Western education with historical traditions in Japanese art, crafting a distinct aesthetic and process. Nara’s paintings and drawings can be seen as an ongoing dialogue with his own childhood, as he reveals an internal rebellious spirit through each work and the loneliness of modern society.
Nara has been the subject of solo exhibitions at The Diary Art Center, London (2014); Asia Society Museum, New York (2010); 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa (2006), among others.
Nara’s works have been widely collected by major museums and institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; the British Museum, London; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; the Neue Pinakothek, Germany; Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Korea; the National Museum of Art, Osaka; Centro de Arte Contemporáneo in Málaga, Spain; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.
- Yoshitomo Nara, Ten Stars, 2014.