Through September 24, 2017, the Toyota Municipal Museum of Art will host a major retrospective show by one of the Japan's most important and recognized artists and 2x Juxtapoz cover artist, Yoshitomo Nara. For better or worse marks 30 years since his departure from the graduate school, and includes a hand-picked selection of works created between 1987-2017.
Showing in Toyota, city next to Nagakute where Nara studied at Aichi Prefectural University of the Arts, has a strong emotional resonance for the artist. This region was always the real dormitory and studio, and all the places he moved to felt as an extension of it. While living abroad, he would always come back to this area to visit former mentors and underclassmen, rather than stay in Tokyo or his hometown in the north of Japan. The show begins with personal items such as collection of Showa-era dolls Nara began collecting in teenage years, deeply nostalgic books from his bookcase, as well as selection of dearest vinyl records.
Hand-picked and collected around the globe, the exhibited pieces are his most representative and most important works according to the artist himself. For example, the very last picture he had drawn and gave to a friend before leaving for Germany, is also featured in this intimate exhibition. Based on personal emotions and experiences, Nara's figurative works are poignant yet psychologically charged images of profound solitude he felt during his childhood in northern Japan. His peculiar artistic language was further shaped through encounters with people from different cultures, as well as through his love of art, history, literature and music, and evolved into what is nowadays unmistakable part of global pop culture. —Sasha Bogojev
Photo credit (c) Yoshitomo Nara Photo: Keizo Kioku