In his latest exhibition ‘Pinacoteca’, Yoshitomo Nara - a Japanese contemporary artist - displays his iconic menacing, angsty child-like creatures at the Pace Gallery. Looming eyes and subtle yet evident emotion on the faces of the androgynous characters’ gawk at you whilst you gawk back; whether they’re hammering on drums or expressing political statements and profanity, their endearing and introspective nature remains. 


A huge aspect that makes this exhibition so captivating is the material of the canvases - at first glance, these unconventional materials are unnoticeable since the charming, and subtly comedic artwork steals the show, but, most of the pieces are painted on cardboard scraps, wooden planks, and even envelopes. In my view, this only heightens the evidence of Nara’s pure and undeniable talent. He could draw on a napkin and I would pay money to see it.  


Nara’s art is best described as fairy-tale punk, with inspiration being the appeal to universal human emotion. A few of his tykes carry political commentary such as ‘No War’ and ‘Stop the Bombs’ which reflect Nara’s own influence - the civil rights movement and the anti war era of the 60s. Reference to the hippy culture and protest symbols of the 1960’s are wildly evident in Nara’s recent work. 


Despite all this, a part of me wants to leave the ‘intellectual’ analysis behind when appreciating Nara’s work - the utter uniqueness of his art speaks for itself, no analysis is really needed - simply looking at it is so fulfilling in itself.