Exhibiting concurrently with his solo show at Asia Society, “Life is Only One” (covered here), eminent Japanese pop artist Yoshitomo Nara recently opened his solo show “stars” at Pace Gallery’s Hong Kong location. On view through April 25, “stars” meditates on the notion of the star as both a symbol of hope as well as foreboding. While children are encouraged to strive with cliches like “Reach for the stars,” according to the superstitious, the workings of the cosmos can also set us up for an undesirable destiny. Four-pointed stars appear in many of Nara’s new paintings, with diabolical children playing with them as if they were fickle gods that control our fate.
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.”
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.
You may recognize So Youn Lee from our posts about her ethereal pen drawings and candy-colored paintings. Her new work is progressively character based- following a young space explorer named “Mango” through strange environments that echo childhood memories. At her Los Angeles studio, she sketches daily and experiments with motifs, from the abstract shapes of Korean folk textiles to the hyper-real balloons of Jeff Koons. A Japanese art influence is definitely there as well. Among Lee’s favorite artists are Aya Takano and Yoshitomo Nara, and she is an avid Manga reader. Most of the pieces shown here were created as an exercise, but seem to have left a lasting impression. We went behind the scenes to learn more about So Youn Lee’s new direction and her future plans.