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Pace opens its temporary gallery space in East Hampton with works by Yoshitomo Nara
Yoshitomo Nara, Play the thinker, 2020. Acrylic and colored pencil on cardboard, 12-11/16" × 12-3/4" (32.2 cm × 32.4 cm) © Yoshitomo Nara, courtesy Pace Gallery.

EAST HAMPTON, NY.- Pace Gallery inaugurates its temporary gallery space in East Hampton with After all I’m cosmic dust, a solo exhibition of never-before-seen drawings by internationally renowned, Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara presented alongside personal items related to the artist’s process and inspiration. Following the exhibition at the East Hampton location this summer (July 3–19, 2020), the show will travel to Pace’s library space at 540 West 25th Street from September 17–October 17, 2020, allowing audiences to view the intimate presentation in New York City this fall. This exhibition coincides with the release of the artist’s first substantial monograph, written by Yeewan Koon (Phaidon Press, 2020.)

Nara rose to prominence in the late 1990s, becoming internationally known for his emotionally complex paintings of children set against monochromatic backgrounds. His signature style is expressed in many other mediums, including sculpture, photography, ceramics and installation, but it is his drawings that form the foundation for his practice.

“Looking back to when I was little. . . I was able to draw whatever I wanted with a pencil. . . For me, this turned out to be the point of origin for all my work, and it is a practice that I continue to this day. . . I have been drawing as though I were breathing. Or taking notes. Or thinking. That’s been my past thirty years.”— Nara

After all I’m cosmic dust provides insight into drawing as the center of Nara’s creative world. Combining colored pencil with acrylic paint, his spontaneous drawings—whether diaristic doodles, random lines of thoughts or bold sketch lines—portray children in a range of moods and capture the instinctive energy crucial to Nara’s expression of his thoughts, emotions and dreams. Nara makes his drawings anywhere and at any time and as a result they embody a freedom that is vital to him. He pins these works on his studio walls, places them in drawers or piles them high on his desk. Often much later, he returns to them to tap into memories that he will then channel into new paintings and sculptures. The personal nature of Nara’s art distances it from the sleek, technophilic and mass-produced aesthetics of Superflat, a Japanese style that emerged in the early 2000s.

Nara’s more recent works suggest a return to his childhood. Although he has gained international acclaim and is involved in projects with global reach, he maintains strong ties to his home in the north of Japan. In addition to presenting approximately twenty works, the exhibition features two large-scale drawings that Nara made while attending Tobiu Camp, an annual music and arts festival in Hokkaido that celebrates the onset of autumn as well as the camp’s environmental work protecting this remote region. Here, artists and musicians join together, regardless of their status, to share their different projects or simply play. Nara’s drawings are inspired by the spirit of community and he channels a connective empathy that is at the heart of his art.

Yoshitomo Nara (b. 1959, Hirosaki, Aomori, Japan) is a pioneering figure in contemporary art whose signature style—which expresses children in a range of emotional complexities from resistance and rebellion to quietude and contemplatio—celebrates the introspective freedom of the imagination and the individual.

Nara’s work spans painting, drawing, photography, large-scale installations, and sculpture in ceramic, bronze, and fiber-reinforced plastic. Influenced by popular music, memories of childhood, and current events, he filters these references through an exploratory realm of feelings, loneliness and rebelliousness especially, which span autobiographical as well as broader cultural sensibilities.

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