Magazine article Artforum International

Yoshitomo Nara. (Reviews)

Magazine article Artforum International

Yoshitomo Nara. (Reviews)

Article excerpt

HIROSHIMA CITY MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART

The children in Yoshitomo Nara's paintings have a malicious air, and they are quite alone. The puppies are good and patient. Whose childhood is this? Your Childhood, 2001, a large installation, consists of a mirror with the words YOUR CHILDHOOD affixed to it in letters made from sulky-looking rag dolls; on a facing wall the soft, friendly, resigned snout of a white dog pokes out from under a blanket in its dog bed. The entire oeuvre--installations, paintings, and drawings--of this artist born in 1959 seems to deal with childhood, that happy period regulated more by instinct than morals, let alone imposed social rules. My surprise on observing here that much of Nara's audience is composed of adolescents provoked this snap sociological analysis: Nara's young public probably already experiences these works through nostalgia for the childhood they are still attempting to renounce. For them, this art captures a poignantly close but already lost state of existence.

In Nara's paintings there is neither background nor context, and these elements are also disappearing from his drawings. A uniform background isolates his figures, and one can merely guess at their mood, looking at the always frowning expressions or reading the words that sometimes accompany the images. One of these phrases, I DON'T MIND, IF YOU FORGET ME, gives the title to the entire exhibition, a major survey traveling to five Japanese museums. The phrase is spelled out by a group of dolls that hang over some shelves containing small toys. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.