Earlier this year, Blum & Poe gallery in Los Angeles brought us never before seen works by Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara (covered here). The show was critically acclaimed for his introduction of new materials, including large scale bronze busts and environmentally-friendly installations. Alongside some of these same peices, he will debut a new series “Greetings from a Place in My Heart”, opening tonight at Dairy Art Centre in London. Nara will also host a rare artist talk about the exhibit, notably the largest retrospective of his drawings, paintings, and sculpture spanning 30 years.
Coinciding with the opening of “BLAB!” at Copro Gallery last Saturday was Yoko d’Holbachie’s “Genesis of Girls”. Over the course of her career, featured in Vol. 6 in 2007, d’Holbachie has created candy colored paintings inspired by the stories of time. One of her greatest inspirations is traditional Japanese folklore and legends. Her characters are non-human and androgynous with a feminine touch, found in her symbols of butterflies and birds representing fertility. Her latest solo show is a reimagining and exploration of the origin of girls from various cultures.
Fans of Japanese contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama need no introduction to the Kusama pumpkin- her dotted signature motif and yes, alter ego. Her pumpkins have been famously recreated from hotel rooms to textiles and designer hand bags by Louis Vuitton. She’s even taken us inside of their surreal, organic structure, as in her Selfridges London pop-up store this time last year. So the story goes, Kusama’s family once owned a storehouse full of pumpkins during World War II, and she developed a fondness for them. Ever since, she has continually used them throughout her career as a symbol of growth and fertility. Just in time for Halloween, Victoria Miro in London is showing a new body of bronze sculptures and paintings 2 years in the making, simply titled “Pumpkins”.
Japanese Pop artist Keiichi Tanaami has rarely seen artwork now on view at New York contemporary art gallery Sikkema Jenkins & Co. When we covered his 2013 solo exhibition at Mizuma Gallery, his art went through a turning point. His fascination with life after a near-death experience inspired him to look to the future, rather than the past. The artwork in this show is not new- but Tanaami’s mixture of motifs from the past inspires modern questions that keeps his art relevant.
Currently on view at Harbour City, Hong Kong is “Sky is the Limit”, a new sculpture and paintings by Tomokazu Matsuyama (Vol 24). Curated by LA based Lebasse Projects in collaboration with Harbour City’s Ocean Terminal and gallery, the event centers around Matsuyama’s largest outdoor sculpture of the same name. At 21.5 feet of stainless steel, it is also the largest ever installed in Harbour City, which has previously exhibited artists like KAWS, Yayoi Kusama, and Yue Minjun.
Opening July 25th in collaboration with Tokyo’s Mizuma Art Gallery, Zane Bennett Contemporary Art brings us a show by emerging Japanese artists and legends alike. IMPACTS! takes a look at work created between 2008 through today by names to put on your radar- Amano Yoshitaka, Ai Yamaguchi, Ishii Toru, Kaneno Tomiyuki, and Ishihara Nanami shown below. You may already be familiar with Ai Yamaguchi (featured here), and Amano Yoshitaka, famous for his designs for the Final Fantasy video games. Their works are filled with warring heroes, sirens and monsters drawn from mythology; some mix traditional Japanese folk tales with fantasy elements, while the new generation progressively exhibits Western influences.