Pace London presents an exhibition of work by the Japanese artist Kohei Nawa. The exhibition will be staged at Pace London, 6 Burlington Gardens from 9 to 19 September 2015. We popped by the private view to take a look at the artwork.
Nawa comes to London as part of She Inspires Art, an exclusive evening of installation, performance and fundraising on 16 September in support of Women for Women International’s work with women in Nigeria and Syrian refugees in Iraq, for which he will be creating a major installation at Bonhams, New Bond St, open to the public on 15 and 16 September.
Moving fluidly between media, Nawa’s work explores issues of science and digital culture while challenging viewers’ sensory experiences. Interested in industrial mass-production, Nawa often works with synthetic compounds, using them to mediate between ideas of the real and the virtual, perception and illusion.
His exhibition at Pace will explore the idea of force, which he conceives as a set of invisible operations dictating the behaviour of materials. “Force in this sense refers to the gravity that exerts an influence on all things that exist in a space, the force that allows vegetation to grow up from the ground, and the force that enables slime mould to creep along a wall,” Nawa writes. Presented on the first floor gallery, the exhibition will include drawings, sculptures and site-specific installations from four of Nawa’s Direction, Ether, Catalyst and Moment series.
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. The repetition of this action creates a set of parallel stripes that cover the canvas.
The relation between the points and the lines not only yields visual stimulation but also enhances the dynamic impression of the space as a whole entity. The speed of movement, direction and gravity resonate hereby inspiring sensibility.
His newest body of work, the Moment series similarly uses a two-dimensional plane to capture the forces of physics. Using a pendulum device, Nawa unleashes acrylic ink onto a paper surface, creating a swirling set of concentric circles and overarching lines. The orderly nature of the lines seems to contradict the haphazard nature of their making, yet Nawa’s work forces viewers to consider the effects of air pressure, distance, and the motion of the pendulum as agents in making the work.
Gravity is the driving forces in his Ether series, which captures high-viscosity fluid into a solid state at the moment it is dripping downward. Appearing as a three-dimensional sculpture, the iterative forms of the droplets appear as an endless column and visualize the force of gravity while also creating a feeling of weightlessness.
The exhibition will include a site-specific wall work that is part of his Catalyst series. Like the Ether work, Nawa employs a fluid material in his Catalyst sculptures—in this case hot glue—to highlight the transition between liquid and material states. Building on the legacy of post-impressionism and process art, the Catalyst works are net-like sculpture drawn directly on the wall. The different dots and strands of glue accumulate into an almost biological form that seems to crawl across the wall.
In his trademark series Beads, Nawa utilises stuffed animals collected from auction websites that he covers with glass beads, polyurethane foam or prism sheets. These materials fragment the exoskeleton of the sculptures into PixCell—a portmanteau of pixel and cell that refers to the constitutional elements of biology and digital forms.
These bead-like forms absorb texture of the object and its colour, abstracting the core animal form into image cells, staging a confluence of the real and the virtual while questioning the status of both terms.
Pace London at 6 Burlington Gardens is open to the public Tuesday to Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.