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On View: “Life is Only One: Yoshitomo Nara” at Asia Society Hong Kong

It's not manga. This is the starting point of a conversation that Yoshitomo Nara will host today about his debut solo exhibition in Hong Kong, "Life is Only One." The show opened last night at the Asia Society, named after Nara's painting "Life is Only One!", featuring a child holding a skull as he contemplates life. In a recent interview, Nara shared, "When I was a child, the word “life” itself, of course, was a foreign concept. After turning 50, however, and with the deaths of people close to me and with the recent earthquake, I started to think about life more realistically - the limits of life, and the importance of what one can accomplish during that time."

It’s not manga. This is the starting point of a conversation that Yoshitomo Nara will host today about his debut solo exhibition in Hong Kong, “Life is Only One.” The show opened last night at the Asia Society, named after Nara’s painting “Life is Only One!”, featuring a child holding a skull as he contemplates life. In a recent interview, Nara shared, “When I was a child, the word “life” itself, of course, was a foreign concept. After turning 50, however, and with the deaths of people close to me and with the recent earthquake, I started to think about life more realistically – the limits of life, and the importance of what one can accomplish during that time.” While manga is a a serialized comic or cartoon, Nara’s works are stand alone reflections on past experiences where children represent the voice inside his head. The paintings in this show, most of which were created in 2014, reflect on new memories in continuation of his 2010 Asia Society showing (covered here). Among these are illustrations inspired by his trips to South Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands, former Japanese territories. Although these visits were for personal reasons, Nara has intended to create a shared experience, an open interpretation of “life”, amongst visitors to his exhibition.

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