Yoshitomo Nara is a celebrated artist who has attained a cult status at the fore of the Japanese Pop Art movement. The artistic universe of his oeuvre revolves around a sleepy-eyed, sulking cartoon child who is simultaneously charming and menacing. Nara draws from his early years as a latchkey child left to his own devices, and and the manga and anime of the 1960s, and has created a narrative across paintings, drawings, sculpture, installation and commercial merchandise. Also influenced by punk, renaissance painting, ukiyo-e and graffiti, Nara’s pared-down, pastel-hued portraits of this isolated character in various everyday situations is consistently intense; a fission of innocence and evil. Contrary to the adult and grandiose nature of the Western art world, the unabashed angst and confessional nature of Nara’s art speaks to the scared, angry child hiding inside each of us.
Born in Japan in 1959, Nara attended the Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts and Music, and later the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Germany. Nara’s work is held at prestigious collections worldwide, such as The British Museum, London; Malaga; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Centro de Arte Contemporaneo de Malaga, San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; Zabludowicz Collection, London and has been featured in major exhibitions at the Goethe-Institut, Düsseldorf; The Ginza Art Space, Tokyo; Museum of Contemporary Art, The Hague; The Reykjavik Art Museum; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo and Yokohama Museum of Art, Kanagawa. A prolific image-maker and sculptor, Nara has had nearly 40 solo exhibitions to date. The artist lives and works in Tokyo.