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 Kohei Nawa, FORCE, Pace Gallery London
Artlyst Photo Special: Kohei Nawa's FORCE At Pace Gallery London - ArtLyst Article image

Artlyst Photo Special: Kohei Nawa's FORCE At Pace Gallery London

15-09-2015
 
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Pace London presents an exhibition of work by the Japanese artist Kohei Nawa. The artist comes to London as part of She Inspires Art, an exclusive evening of installation, performance and fundraising on 16 September in support of Women for Women International’s work with women in Nigeria and Syrian refugees in Iraq, for which he will be creating a major installation at Bonhams, New Bond St, open to the public on 15 and 16 September.

Nawa’s work explores issues of science and digital culture while challenging viewers’ sensory experiences via a plethora of media. The artist is interested in industrial mass-production, and often works with synthetic compounds, using them to mediate between ideas of the real and the virtual, perception and illusion.

Image: Kohei Nawa, Force Installation, 2015, Pace Gallery London, Photo P A Black © Artlyst 2015.

Nawa's exhibition at Pace will explore the idea of force, which he conceives as a set of invisible operations dictating the behaviour of materials. “Force in this sense refers to the gravity that exerts an influence on all things that exist in a space, the force that allows vegetation to grow up from the ground, and the force that enables slime mould to creep along a wall,” the artist states.

Image: Kohei Nawa, Force Installation, 2015, Pace Gallery London, Photo P A Black © Artlyst 2015.

In his Direction paintings, the artist pours black paint onto a vertically set canvas. Nawa offsets the grain of the canvas on the stretcher by fifteen degrees, and then allows the paint to slowly drip down the face of the canvas, allowing the force of gravity to produce the lines of the painting. The repetition of this action creates a set of parallel stripes that cover the canvas. The relation between the points and the lines not only yields visual stimulation but also enhances the dynamic impression of the space as a whole entity. The speed of movement, direction and gravity resonate hereby inspiring sensibility.

Image: Kohei Nawa, Force Installation, 2015, Pace Gallery London, Photo P A Black © Artlyst 2015.

The Moment series is the artist's newest body of work, similarly using a two-dimensional plane to capture the forces of physics. Using a pendulum device, Nawa unleashes acrylic ink onto a paper surface, creating a swirling set of concentric circles and overarching lines. The orderly nature of the lines seems to contradict the haphazard nature of their making, yet Nawa’s work forces viewers to consider the effects of air pressure, distance, and the motion of the pendulum as agents in making the work.

Image: Kohei Nawa, Force Installation, 2015, Pace Gallery London, Photo P A Black © Artlyst 2015.

Gravity is the driving forces in his Ether series, which captures high-viscosity fluid into a solid state at the moment it is dripping downward. Appearing as a three-dimensional sculpture, the iterative forms of the droplets appear as an endless column and visualise the force of gravity while also creating a feeling of weightlessness.

Image: Kohei Nawa, Force Installation, 2015, Pace Gallery London, Photo P A Black © Artlyst 2015.

The exhibition includes a site-specific wall work by Nawa that is part of his Catalyst series. Like the Ether work, the artist employs a fluid material in his Catalyst sculptures—in this case hot glue—to highlight the transition between liquid and material states. Building on the legacy of post-impressionism and process art, the Catalyst works are net-like sculpture drawn directly on the wall. The different dots and strands of glue accumulate into an almost biological form that seems to crawl across the wall.

Image: Kohei Nawa, Force Installation, 2015, Pace Gallery London, Photo P A Black © Artlyst 2015.

In his trademark series Beads, the artist utilises stuffed animals collected from auction websites that he covers with glass beads, polyurethane foam or prism sheets. These materials fragment the exoskeleton of the sculptures into PixCell—a portmanteau of pixel and cell that refers to the constitutional elements of biology and digital forms. These bead-like forms absorb texture of the object and its colour, abstracting the core animal form into image cells, staging a confluence of the real and the virtual while questioning the status of both terms.

Image: Kohei Nawa, Force Installation, 2015, Pace Gallery London, Photo P A Black © Artlyst 2015.

Kohei Nawa (b. 1975, Osaka) lives and works in Kyoto, Japan. After a semester abroad at the Royal College of Art, London, he received a PhD in Fine Art Sculpture from the Kyoto City University of Arts (2003). In 2009, he founded the creative platform SANDWICH in Kyoto, thereafter serving as its director. Notable solo exhibitions include: L_B_S, Ginza Maison Hermès, Tokyo (2009); Synthesis, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (2011); and SCULPTURE GARDEN, Kirishima Open-air Art Museum, Kagoshima (2013). He has shown work in numerous international biennials and triennials including the 6th Asia Pacific Triennial, Brisbane (2009); 14th Asian Art Biennale Bangladesh 2010, Dhaka (2010), where he won the grand prize; and Aichi Triennale 2013, Nagoya (2013). Nawa is a Professor of Graduate School / Art and Design Studies at the Kyoto University of Art and Design.


Kohei Nawa - Pace Gallery London - 8 September To 19 September 2015


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