London’s Dairy Art Centre is presenting a major solo exhibition by the Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara, in October. This will be the largest and most comprehensive exhibition in the UK to date and will feature seminal pieces by the artist, many of which have never been shown before in the UK. Comprising a large body of recent and previously unreleased works, the exhibition will include painting, sculpture, and a unique retrospective of Nara’s drawings spanning 30 years.
One of the most renowned Japanese contemporary artists of his generation, Nara is best known for his paintings of children and animals sporting fiendish expressions and provocative stances, isolated against pastel-coloured backdrops. Exploring the psychological universe of childhood experience, Nara’s world straddles the make-believe of infantile imagination, adult anxiety, and rebellion. His paintings are diligently layered with luminescent colour, making each textured brushstroke and gesture visible, revealing a broad range of artistic and cultural infuences from modernist Japanese and Western paintings, literature, illustrated children’s books, and music (folk, rock, and punk).
The exhibition explores an important development in Nara’s artistic practice, where he becomes more concerned with the approachability of his subject matter through the use of a softer, more vivid colour palette, as exemplifed in paintings such asMidnight Silence (2014) and I wanna be. (2013). The serene and wide-eyed gazes of the children he portrays in these works are a striking contrast to the more familiar, menacing characters seen in paintings such as Midnight Vampire (2014), depicted in more solid colours.
Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara The Dairy Art Centre London 3 October – 14 December 2014
Photo: © Artlyst 2014