Saturday, July 02, 2005

Encounter with Yoshitomo Nara

I drifted into the museum of New Contemporary art on West 22 street, after checking out the surreal warehouses where two of my storage places locate, on 26 and 11 Ave.

It has been a while since I last visited a museum or gallery, not since last Nov in Paris. And I have not even dropped a visit to the new MOMA yet, other than watching two films there. It is weighing heavily on my humble amateur conscience of art appreciation.

But galleries and museums in Chelsea are always meant for you to visit unplanned and with you own pace. You see what you see when you are there. They mean business and their display flow with their own tempo. You and the artifacts just pass each other by, exchanging a wink.

With such a mentality, these galleries have always brought me unexpected discoveries and delights.

Today, while ashtrays or T-shirt with his angry babies or harmless dog image from childhood are sold on E Bay, I found Yoshitomo Nara only for the first time.

That in this case simply means as I flipped through a beautiful book featuring his major works over the years, I was smiling to the book and understanding what he is trying to express, what a child, or person with a child's heart, will always feel: boredom, some wicked thought, fear, longing for something dramatic, waiting to grow up, frustration for not being heard or understood, frustration for nothing ever happens, trying with no guarantee of success, longing for home coming and a welcome from the dog.

Beside the simple and straight forward subject, I also like his contrast of color and simple lines. A minimal art language for a world of childhood. It is almost nostalgia to me.

I bought the book and planned to go back for his notebook collection with drawings and practices on pieces of paper or envelops, his thread of thought while creating his drawings.

One can feel although extremly talented, he is still drawing with a focus, passion and trying as a child first learned to draw. No wonder his children's faces are so real and his sleep walking babies are telling something with their eyes closed and a plain little white face.

His hand writing of Chinese characters in his poem is in a very disciplined style, in contrast to his punk music baby creation.

I almost feel mabye I like his work because we are similar to some extent--I may share that rebelling feelings that is well controlled but is always there. He channeled his through his art. I am still trying to reconcile with mine as an adult should be doing. I don't seem to be successful and I am many times enjoying my unsuccessfulness.

For now, I will just smile at Nara's big-eyed, sideway glancing baby like the one above. That is almost me, or the me that is hidden inside me.

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