Kohei Nawa (b. 1975, Osaka, Japan) is a multidisciplinary artist whose diverse practice explores the perception of virtual and physical space and examines the relationship between nature and artificiality, and between the individual and the whole, illustrating how parts aggregate together, like cells, to create complex and dynamic structures.
Notable solo exhibitions include: L_B_S at Ginza Maison Hermes, Tokyo (2009); Synthesis at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (2011); SCULPTURE GARDEN at Kirishima Open-air Art Museum, Kagoshima, (2013); and Throne on view as part of the Japonisms 2018: les âmes en resonance at the Musée du Louvre, Paris (2018). He has participated in the 6th Asia Pacific Triennial in Brisbane, Australia, 2009; the 14th Asian Art Biennale Bangladesh in Dhaka, Bangladesh, 2010 (Grand Prize winner); Aichi Triennale in Nagoya, Japan, 2013, amongst others. Nawa is currently an Associate Professor at the Kyoto University of Art and Design.
Palo Alto— Pace Gallery is pleased to present the first U.S. solo exhibition by Japanese artist Kohei Nawa and his second exhibitionwith the gallery. For Trans-figure, Nawa has created works that draw on the physical and sensory properties of skin to question and explore thedistinction between material and intangible experiences. The exhibition will be on view at 229 Hamilton Ave. from January 18 through February 25, 2018 with an opening reception on Wednesday, January 17 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Pace Gallery will also highlight Nawa’s works at the FOG Design + Art Fair booth 301, held in San Francisco from January 11 to 14, 2018.
Moving fluidly between different media, Nawa’s work explores themes of science and digital culture while challenging viewers’ sensory experiences. Interested in industrial mass-production, Nawa often works with synthetic compounds, using them to consider the ideas of the real and the virtual, and perception versus illusion. Trans-figure will include new works from four of Nawa’s ongoing series: Direction, Ether, PixCell and Villus.
“We’re thrilled to present Kohei Nawa’s first solo exhibition in the U.S. and to introduce our Bay Area community to his incredibly thought-provoking practice,” says Elizabeth Sullivan, President of Pace Palo Alto.
A highlight of the exhibition will be a PixCell sculpture of a taxidermied maral deer. Like much of his practice, the process of creating a PixCellsculpture begins with the artist collecting images from the Internet. After he encounters a particularly engaging group, Nawa sources the actual object – whether a taxidermied animal or inanimate object — and encapsulates these into different sized cells, which are created through the use of glass beads. The glass bead encasement produces a lens effect, with multiple details of the object presented simultaneously. Similarly, the works in the Villus series include a variety of objects upon which the artist applies a Polyurethane foam, creating a mist that masks the irregularities of thesurface and dulls the contours and textures.
In pieces from the Direction and Ether series, Nawa explores the physical manifestations of gravity. In his Direction paintings, Nawa pours black paint onto a vertically set canvas. He 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. Works from the Ether series, which can be presented outdoors as well as indoors,translate highly viscous liquids into a solid state at the moment they drip downward. Appearing as a three-dimensional sculpture, the iterative forms of the droplets appear as an endless column and visualize the force of gravity.
Presented together, the works in Trans-figure highlight Nawa’s extensive artistic range and showcase his powerful meditations on sensation and materiality.
Kohei Nawa (b. 1975, Osaka) lives and works in Kyoto, Japan. He received a Ph.D. in Fine Art Sculpture from the Kyoto City University of Arts (2003). Notable solo exhibitions include: L_B_S at Ginza Maison Hermes, Tokyo, 2009; Synthesisat the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, 2011; and SCULPTURE GARDEN at Kirishima Open-air Art Museum, Kagoshima, 2013. He has participated in the 6th Asia Pacific Triennial in Brisbane, Australia, 2009; the 14th Asian Art Biennale Bangladesh in Dhaka, Bangladesh, 2010 (Grand Prize winner); Aichi Triennale in Nagoya, Japan, 2013, amongst others. Nawa is currently an Associate Professor at the Kyoto University of Art and Design.
Pace is a leading contemporary art gallery representing many of the most significant international artists and estates of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Founded by Arne Glimcher in Boston in 1960 and currently led by Marc Glimcher, Pace has been a constant, vital force in the art world and has introduced many renowned artists’ work to the public forthe first time. Pace has mounted more than 900 exhibitions, including scholarly shows that have subsequently traveled to museums, and published over 450 exhibition catalogues. Today, Pace has eight locations worldwide: one gallery in Palo Alto, California, located at 229 Hamilton Avenue; three galleries in New York; one in London; one in Beijing; and spaces in Hong Kong and Seoul. Pace will open its second gallery in Hong Kong in March 2018, and will open a new flagship gallery in New York, anticipated for completion in fall 2019. In 2016, the gallery established Future\Pace, a cultural partnership between Pace and Futurecity innovating multidisciplinary projects for art in the public realm. Pace opened its permanent location in downtown Palo Alto, California, in 2016.