Kohei Nawa "Synthesis"
Friday, 24 September - Saturday, 30 October, 2010
12:00-19:00 *closed on Mon., Sun., and Holidays
Kohei Nawa was born in Osaka, Japan in 1975. Following "GUSH," his 2006 solo exhibition at SCAI THE BATHHOUSE, Nawa became remarkably productive, receiving exceptional acclaim from around the world. Last year, 2009, he presented his "L_B_S" exhibition at Maison Hermès Le Forum in Ginza, and overseas, participated in the 6th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in Brisbane, where his exhibit was highlighted on the cover of the exhibition catalog, attracting a great deal of international attention.. This year, he has exhibited at the Busan Biennale and represented Japan at the 14th Asian Art Biennale Bangladesh. At the same time, his projects have become more varied, including creating the PixCell via PRISMOID mobile phone concept for the KDDI iida Art Editions series, and installing public art near Toyosu Station in Tokyo. The artist has also converted an old sandwich factory in the Fushimi area of Kyoto to launch an art studio platform named SANDWICH. As its director, Nawa runs the studio, which, in addition to working on Nawa's own creations, brings together creators of different genres, including artists, designers, and architects, to work on diverse projects. (See http://sandwich-cpca.net)
Nawa's art is realized using a diversity of materials, including beads, prisms, silicon oil, polyurethane foam, and glue, but almost all of his works focus on a single material and a single texture. Whether categorized as BEADS, PRISM, LIQUID, SCUM, or GLUE, his works all share an awareness of surfaces or skins. When we try to perceive the world around us, we depend primarily on surfaces, or, in other words, sensory information received through our senses of sight and touch. Today, digital technology and the ubiquity of the Internet mean that the world's surfaces can all be converted into digital information, processed, and archived. Nawa first discovers an object in the form of digital information on an Internet auction site, and orders it to obtain something that has a real mass and feel. Then, using analog methods like covering the object's surface with glass beads or placing it inside a prism box, he manipulates the object's surface information, converting it into a PixCell sculpture that constitutes a new data format. 'PixCell,' which appears in the titles of his BEADS and PRISM works, is a term Nawa coined by merging the words 'pixel' and 'cell.')
Nawa's latest solo exhibition at SCAI THE BATHHOUSE, entitled "Synthesis," presents a new development in the BEADS series and an installation of drawings. The BEADS works on display are inspired by copy-and-paste image processing of pixels on computer monitors, but attempt to reproduce the process with physical sculpture. Transcoding images and perceptions between the real and virtual, the digital and analog results in blurred locations, elicits images that are more abstract, and produces new sensations. In his installation of drawings featuring clusters of ink dots, the dots act as elements that combine to form the composition, bestowing depth and expanding the images. The visual space quietly stimulates our bodily senses, as if we were observers at the foundations of creativity itself. The abstractness and sensations of this space make the exhibit a link between the other categories of Nawa's works.
"Synthesis" is an excellent opportunity to see Kohei Nawa's current works. The artist's reputation is rapidly growing, and a significant solo exhibition has been scheduled for June 2011 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo.