kohei nawa


Kohei Nawa’s latest work, which headlined the Aichi Triennale in Nagoya, is a large-scale installation of billowing foam clouds. Nawa spent weeks experimenting with concoctions of detergent, glycerin and water so as to create a foam stiff enough to hold shape, thus creating his installation “Foam”. Visitors were allowed to walk through a gymnasium-sized space filled with ever-evolving foam shapes that, in Nawa’s own words, “should feel like [you’re] walking through clouds.”



Kohei Nawa - Foam (2013)

Small bubbles (cells) continue to form on the surface of a gently lapsing liquid. They accumulate to form an autonomous structure comprised of foam. Each bubble cannot escape the cycle of birth and destruction, which is not unlike the way our cells operate as they metabolize and circulate.

© All images courtesy of the artist


The Optical Illusions of Kohei Nawa

Using crystal beads and prism sheets, artist Kohei Nawa manipulates the audience’s perceptions of the images. In his PixCell (Beads) series (2005-2009), taxidermy animals are covered in clear crystal beads, obstructing our perception of the surface, and thus, the true image of the animal. In his PixCell (Prism) series (2003-2009), Nawa encases objects in acrylic boxes, but, with an added layer of prism sheets, that cut the light travelling into the boxes in two, and creating the illusion of multiples of the object, much like a hologram. In the latter work, the sculptural pieces are placed in a room that optically flattens the space and the works; the artist is taking already three-dimensional objects, flattening them by playing with the configuration of the space to appear two-dimensional, then placing prism sheets in the acrylic boxes to render the images three-dimensional by playing with the configuration in the smaller spaces of the boxes.

Distortion is a key element in the artists’ work. The skin of the animals in the PixCell (Beads) series is altered, creating a different view of the structure of the animal as a whole, and through each individual bead. The artist himself described the animals as being “replaced by ‘a husk of light’, and the new vision ‘the cell of an image’ (PixCell) is shown”, where the beads become the new ‘biological’ make-up of the animal. The random grouping of some of the beads can be seen as a direct commentary on how we perceive images, especially how the public is fed information, and the fact that sometimes even seeing the whole picture, with all the information, can still obscure the original intent of a piece. It is all in perception; two people seeing a piece will go away from it with two different perspectives on its intention or meaning.

-Anna Paluch


Kohei Nawa

Kohei Nawa is a Japanese artist that is interested in surfaces. He covers Taxidermy with crystal beads and balls which alter the skin and the way we perceive the animal. There are a million different views of an animal covered in beads and each bead offers it’s own distorted view of the original. The grouping of all of these distorted partial views grouped together even suggests the way the public is fed information and how even when seeing all of the view still obscures the original object/intent/idea. Nawa explores the ideas of surface/perception/interaction with his other works liquid and scum. Check his website by clicking the image below if you want to see more of his work.



Top picture http://www.flickr.com/photos/redtinsel/


Kohei Nawa (b.1975, Japan) - Pixcell (2010-13)

Japanese artist Kohei Nawa is acclaimed for his PixCell series, which is a word that integrates ‘pixel’, which demonstrates digital image resolution, and the biological ‘cell’. While the subject in each work connotes its own attributes such as weight, smell and color, its essence is lost or distorted through the production process in which glass, crystal and urethane coats covers its surface. PixCell-Deer, the representative work of the PixCell series, is the most celebrated work from the BEADS series that cover taxidermied animals with clear crystal beads. The composite of taxidermied animal and crystal beads is like a completely new organism that entirely deconstructs the initial color, texture and form of the original taxidermied animal and creates a new experience. While the beads in different sizes seem to interfere with the precise reading of the subject, they gain a new function as lens, maximizing color and form, and seducing the viewer. This reminds the viewer that the world which the human senses perceive as the truth is actually ambiguous and uncertain. Through an extensive medium of expression, Kohei Nawa sheds light on the human desire to embrace, cherish and possess the uncertainty. (src. Arario Gallery) © All images courtesy of the artist

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