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kohei nawa: 'L_B_S' at maison hermes ginza, tokyo

kohei nawa: L_B_S
maison hermès ginza, tokyo
june 19th to september 23d, 2009

'pixcell - elk #2', 2009
mixed media
image © OMOTE nobutada courtesy of the hermès Foundation

the current exhibition at le forum at the maison hermès ginza in tokyo, presents the work of
japanese artist kohei nawa, known for his ideas of 'skin' and 'cells'. he is known for his pixcell series,
the 'skins' of objects such as taxidermied animals, sneakers, musical instruments, toys and fake fruit
taking on new phases. countless transparent glass beads encase these objects,
forming a new interface between these things and us. the glass beads are 'cells' that skew our
tactile memories and conventional visual notions we have of these objects.

the show is entitled 'L_B_S' which stands for 'liquid, beads and scum' which represents
three phases of growth for nawa's cellular skins: liquid, beads, scum.

the skin of the elk made up of glass bead cells
image © OMOTE nobutada courtesy of the hermès foundation

beads of glass are affixed to and mediate objects. motifs used for the sculptures are gathered
from the internet. entering specific keywords in the search engine results in the display of a myriad
of unexpected related images. they cover the surface of these motifs with transparent spheres
transforming them into 'shells of light'. layers of countless 'cells' alter the texture and color
of the original object, dissolving it into a pixelated image converted and saved into a sculptural format -
'pixcell' - a re-assemblage of element of image.

the beads provide a skin of transparent spheres
image © OMOTE nobutada courtesy of the hermès foundation

'villus', 2009
mixed media
image © OMOTE nobutada courtesy of the hermès foundation

scum: motifs which could not be transformed through the pixcell process are used in the villus series.
the objects are subjected to a controlled airflow where they are exposed to a spray of polyurethane resin
which chemically reacts in the air. as the particles attach to the skin of the motifs, they become the cell
and behave like fur, covering the object in a villi-type manner, causing its volume to expand.
the contours and texture of the original weightless image are diminished through the process
and gradually disappear within the expanding impassive volume.

the skin of the motifs is transformed into a furry coating
image © OMOTE nobutada courtesy of the hermès foundation

'pixcell_saturation #2', 2009
mixed media
image © OMOTE nobutada courtesy of the hermès foundation

liquid indicates the fluid maternal space from which the cell bubbles form.
by illuminating the layer of silicon oil a grid of bubbles is revealed. sensation and images emerge
from the neutral white interface. as the constant flow of stimulation reach its maximum point of saturation,
the work has an anesthetic effect towards the viewer.

a grid of bubbles is illuminated
image © OMOTE nobutada courtesy of the hermès foundation

kohei nawa was born in osaka, japan in 1975.
he graduated from the kyoto city university of art, ph.d. specializing in fine art, sculpture.
he lives and works in kyoto, japan.


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