Yoshitomo Nara

December 20, 2008 – February 7, 2009
Los Angeles

Opening reception: Saturday, December 20, 6–8pm

Blum & Poe is pleased to announce our sixth solo exhibition of work by Yoshitomo Nara. Coupling the everyday through the lens of a bygone era, Yoshitomo Nara presents a powerful new series of paintings, drawings, and a large-scale sculptural installation.

At the heart of this exhibition is a prairie-style wagon reminiscent of the American Old West. Created site-specifically in Los Angeles with his long-time collaboration team YNG, the wagon is constructed in used wood, and re-imagined in a modernist style with miniature windows and a swooped roof in place of a canvas dome on metal frame. The structure constitutes a liminal zone, and much in line with the artist’s past wooden sheds, it functions as a makeshift studio as well as a communal space that includes drawings, stuffed animals, and various objects handpicked by the artist. The result is a surreal vehicle that doubles as an apparition, and evokes an unsettling transition at the end of an old Western film. From where has this wagon arrived and where will it go? The final components of the installation are two billboard style paintings on wood, one depicting a girl playing a guitar, and the other, as with the wagon, overtly references themes of frontier, Wild West, exploration, and Manifest Destiny, through an image of a girl surrounded by the painted text, "So...how can you tell me you are lonely?”

In the absence of the hero, a series of heroines appear in a set of new acrylic paintings displayed in the adjacent gallery. The figures are rendered in a warm array of glistening colors cast from a prism, some with sparkles that float above the glass-like eyes. At once characteristically emotional and detached, rich with pathos and innocence, these figures test our capacity for empathy and vulnerability much like the phantom-like ephemerality of the wagon.

Yoshitomo Nara has exhibited extensively around the world. A selection of recent solo exhibitions includes, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK; NARA + GRAF, Centro de Arte Contemporanáneo de Málaga, Spain; Moonlight Sernade,  21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan; Over the Rainbow: Yoshitomo Nara and Hiroshi Sugito, Pinakothek der moderne, Munich (traveled to the K21, Düsseldorf, Germany). Selected recent group exhibitions include, A Perspective on Contemporary Art 6: Emotional Drawing, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; Cult Fiction, Hayward Gallery (traveled to New Art Gallery, Walsall; Nottingham Castle, Nottingham; Leeds City Art Gallery, Leeds; Aberystwyth Art Gallery, Aberystwyth; Tullie House, Carlisle);Pretty Baby, The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, TX, and Portrait Session, NADiff, Tokyo; (traveling to Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima, Japan). Yoshitomo Nara was born in Hirosaki, Japan and studied in Japan and Germany. He lives and works in Tokyo.

Selected Works

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BLUM Los Angeles will be open for extended hours during Frieze Los Angeles. Visit the gallery Monday, February 26–Sunday, March 3, 10am–6pm.