kohei nawa presents 'pixcell' sculptures and velvet 'paintings' for oracle at gyre gallery

kohei nawa presents 'pixcell' sculptures and velvet 'paintings' for oracle at gyre gallery

from now through january 31, 2021, tokyo’s gyre gallery presents a solo exhibition of work by kohei nawa that reveals a selection of pieces born from his most recent artistic experimentations. while the current pandemic made international travel problematic, it gave nawa the opportunity to spend time in his studio and work on a variety of new creations. the exhibition titled ‘oracle’ — which refers to things that provide a divine revelation, divine will, and guidance — includes complex material paintings, sculptural installations, and intricately woodcarved works that aims to promote traditional craftsmanship.

 

designboom is in tokyo and has visited ‘oracle’ to document the works by kohei nawa on view. see images from our exhibition tour below, and read on for more details about the artworks on show. 

kohei nawa presents 'pixcell' sculptures and velvet 'paintings' for oracle at gyre gallery
image © designboom

 

 

as visitors enter the atrium of gyre, they find ‘silhouette,’ a sculptural installation developed for pianist koki nakano’s concert stage in tokyo’s spiral hall and rohm theatre kyoto in 2018. revolving bodies made of curves extracted from melodic sounds determine the volumes, while highly reflective silicon carbide beads cover the surface ‘skin’. the work interprets a melody as a waveform, and transposes it into a sculpture form.

 

once inside the gallery, visitors are met with a tableau of recent works by nawa — including ones from his ‘pixcell’ series of sculptures, and paintings with complex textures that combine multiple art media, paints, and oils. a centerpiece of the show is ‘trans-sacred deer (g/p_cloud_agyo)’, an homage to the kamakura-period sculpture, kasuga shinroku shari zushi.

kohei nawa presents 'pixcell' sculptures and velvet 'paintings' for oracle at gyre gallery
image © designboom

 

 

‘trans-sacred deer (g/p_cloud_agyo)’ has been produced using woodcarving, urushi lacquer, and gold and platinum leaf techniques, and forms part of a project that nawa has been developing for a few years in aiming to promote traditional crafts in kyoto. the ‘shinroku’ — a deer serving as a messenger of the gods flying on a cloud — has been a symbolic image throughout the history of nara art. nawa created ‘trans-sacred deer (g/p_cloud_agyo)’ using data with a 3D modeling system, and finished with lacquer, and gold and platinum leaf. the deer bears a a cloud-like form, and the kaen houju (flaming sacred jewel) is enshrined on top of a lotus pedestal mounted on the deer’s saddle. it is as if a messenger of the gods has been summoned and, spanning the ages, has now appeared in this world.

kohei nawa presents 'pixcell' sculptures and velvet 'paintings' for oracle at gyre gallery
image courtesy of gyre gallery

 

 

meanwhile, in his ‘pixcell’ series of sculptures, transparent spheres cover the surface of an object, thus transforming it into ‘pixcells’ (pixels + cells). the object is acquired through the internet, and given a skin of a large, indeterminate number of cells that resembles pixels on a computer screen. when completely covered with spheres of various sizes, the object’s skin is divided into individual cells. it’s then ready to be ‘viewed’ through lenses that enlarge and distort it. this series — whose origin was influenced by globalism and the growing significance of data — generates a visual and tactile experience that questions the reality of the skin of the object, while reflecting on the relationship between the digital lens and the object digitized by it.

kohei nawa presents 'pixcell' sculptures and velvet 'paintings' for oracle at gyre gallery
image © designboom

 

 

also included in the ‘oracle’ exhibition is a news series titled ‘rhythm’ of velvet ‘paintings’, where rhythmical movement is produced by the composition and arrangement of combinations of cells of varying sizes. in order to give a simple demonstration of the shared sensation that underlies the series, nawa covered all surfaces of the spheres and the support with neutral gray pile to create a consistent, flat velvet finish. the idea drew from an experiment in which wooden spheres on a board were placed in nawa’s drawing room in tokyo. the result was the rhythm of the large and small spheres, but nothing else. however, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the neutral nature of the experiment gained the appearance of something else — which, ironically, held a certain fascination.

kohei nawa presents 'pixcell' sculptures and velvet 'paintings' for oracle at gyre gallery
image © designboom

 

 

‘oracle’ runs from now through january 31, 2021 as part of DESIGNART tokyo 2020. see our tour of tokyo exhibitions that took place as part of the event here, and more about the exhibition at gyre gallery here.

kohei nawa presents 'pixcell' sculptures and velvet 'paintings' for oracle at gyre gallery
image © designboom

kohei nawa presents 'pixcell' sculptures and velvet 'paintings' for oracle at gyre gallery
image © designboom

kohei nawa presents 'pixcell' sculptures and velvet 'paintings' for oracle at gyre gallery
image © designboom

kohei nawa presents 'pixcell' sculptures and velvet 'paintings' for oracle at gyre gallery
image © designboom

kohei nawa presents 'pixcell' sculptures and velvet 'paintings' for oracle at gyre gallery
image © designboom

kohei nawa presents 'pixcell' sculptures and velvet 'paintings' for oracle at gyre gallery
image © designboom

kohei nawa presents 'pixcell' sculptures and velvet 'paintings' for oracle at gyre gallery
image © designboom

kohei-nawa-solo-exhibition-oracle-gyre-omotesando-designboom-12X

kohei nawa presents 'pixcell' sculptures and velvet 'paintings' for oracle at gyre gallery
image © designboom

kohei nawa presents 'pixcell' sculptures and velvet 'paintings' for oracle at gyre gallery
image © designboom

kohei nawa presents 'pixcell' sculptures and velvet 'paintings' for oracle at gyre gallery
image courtesy of gyre gallery

kohei nawa presents 'pixcell' sculptures and velvet 'paintings' for oracle at gyre gallery
image courtesy of gyre gallery

kohei nawa presents 'pixcell' sculptures and velvet 'paintings' for oracle at gyre gallery
image © designboom

kohei nawa presents 'pixcell' sculptures and velvet 'paintings' for oracle at gyre gallery
image © designboom

kohei nawa presents 'pixcell' sculptures and velvet 'paintings' for oracle at gyre gallery
image courtesy of gyre gallery

kohei nawa presents 'pixcell' sculptures and velvet 'paintings' for oracle at gyre gallery
image courtesy of gyre gallery

 

 

exhibition info:

 

artist: kohei nawa
solo exhibition: oracle
dates: october 23, 2020 ‒ january 31, 2021
venue: gyre gallery, 5-10-1 jingumae, shibuya-ku, tokyo
cooperation: SCAI THE BATHHOUSE, GRAND MARBLE, HiRAO INC, sandwich inc.

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