06.28.2024 - 11.03.2024
Yoshitomo Nara (b. 1959, Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture) is one of the best-known Japanese artists of his generation; his characteristic portraits of adorable, enigmatic, or threatening childlike figures have become revered icons, becoming even distinctive in some social manifestations, proof of the activism and concerns that have characterized the artist from the beginning. Yoshitomo Nara creates traditionally crafted art rooted in his childhood and personal history, underground punk, folk, and rock music, literature, nature, and European and Japanese art history. This exhibition covers his entire career, beginning with his first artworks created in Japan in the 1980s, in which recurring elements of his personal history appear, such as the house and his first childlike figures, under the influence of other artists, such as Takeshi Motai.
The exhibition continues with his fruitful stay in Germany, where Nara reacted to the isolation imposed by the language barrier while he studied and discovered German Expressionism with A.R. Penck at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and introduced in his production the central characters that would soon be recognized as part of his signature language. The work he produced upon his return to Japan in 2000, and an essential selection of paintings, drawings, installations, and sculptures created since then, will be exhibited in the context of this entire career.
Curator: Lucía Agirre
Venues: Guggenheim Museum Bilbao; Frieder Burda Museum, Baden-Baden; Hayward Gallery-Southbank Centre, London
In the Deepest Puddle II, 1995
Acrylic on cotton mounted on canvas
120 x 110 cm
© Yoshitomo Nara
Courtesy Yoshitomo Nara Foundation