BALTIC present a magical new exhibition by internationally acclaimed Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara, in collaboration with design unit graf. The exhibition will feature a village brought to life with Nara’s iconic characters, turning ordinary life into art.
Yoshitomo Nara’s work embodies a defiant spirit that comes with youthful optimism andbelief that we can change the world. He is best known for his deceptively simple drawings, paintings and sculptures of children with apparently innocent, kawaii or cute expressions. Kristin Chambers explains further in Yoshitomo Nara: Nothing EverChanges ‘Their direct gazes and impish grins suggest that although they’re young anddarling, these kids sense what the world has in store for them’. Influenced by popularculture from punk music, rock ‘n’ roll and Manga to the American cartoons of hischildhood, Nara explores the tensions of a hyper consumer culture.
At BALTIC, Nara continues his ongoing collaboration with creative design unit graf: theA-Z Project which began in 2003. The project explores the relationship between theindividual, the space they inhabit and objects within their surroundings. It aims to revivethe idea of narrative, the relationship between the work and its environment, art and life.For each phase of the project, the team create a new wooden structure or ‘house’ thatresponds to the particular environment of the exhibition space. Ultimately the project will accumulate more than 26 houses over the course of 26 exhibitions.
Together the houses create an imaginary town with each street named after a letter ‘A’ to ‘Z’.For the next stage of their project, Nara and graf will construct three cross-shaped‘houses’ at BALTIC. Two of these are reconstructions from earlier stages; the third house is specially designed for the exhibition and built using local reclaimed materials.2Nara + graf’s recent exhibitions include Torre de Malaga, Malaga, GEM Hague, GalerieZink Berlin, A to Z Hiosaki, Welcome to Soi Sabai Bangkok, Stephen Friedman GalleryLondon, Yokohama Triennale 2005 and Home graf media gm, Osaka.
In her first UK solo show Chiho Aoshima presents her intricate fantasy worlds of zombies and fairies, rainbows and tsunamis, urban landscapes and nature. From a confrontation with a gigantic wave of destruction to a journey through her imaginary world from the perspective of a worm, Aoshima’s fantasy worlds suggest a multitude of possibilities.
Japanese, New York based artist Mariko Mori is best known for her video and self-portraiture focusing on the imagination and fantasy. Her work has investigated Native cultures and universal consciousness in relation to nature and her belief in the potential power of technology.
This exhibition will be the first serious international examination of urban and suburban art bridging the gap between the street and the traditional art space. With strong links to graphic design, graffiti, manga comics, skate boarding and surfing this group show includes artists based in urban centres across the world.