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Iconic artist Yoshitomo Nara opens first major solo exhibition in Hong Kong at Asia Society Hong Kong Center

published: 26.02.2015, 05:01
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The Asia Society Hong Kong Center (“ASHK”) is hosting the first major solo exhibition of renowned Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara in Hong Kong from March 6 – July 26, 2015. With tremendous support from The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Presents – Life is Only One: Yoshitomo Nara exhibition will be free for the public to enjoy, including a selection of Nara’s most evocative works, public lectures and educational programs to bring attendees closer to one of the world’s most celebrated contemporary artists.

The title of the exhibition comes from the Nara painting Life is Only One! and reflects an abiding theme of the artist’s work. The juxtaposition of the innocent-looking girl and the human skull on the canvas prompts us to contemplate on the big question about the fleeting nature of life. But what does this provocative subject mean to the artist and to us? Through a wide range of mediums from paintings, sketches, photographs, sculptures to mixed media installations, the artist unveils his open-ended interpretation of life. This exhibition showcases works from Nara’s extensive oeuvre in the past two decades – together with 3 new paintings, 17 new drawings, and some recent puppy sculptures created specifically for this show.

“The Asia Society Hong Kong Center is delighted to bring Yoshitomo Nara’s thought-provoking work to Hong Kong in this exhibition. Our collaboration with this most beloved and accessible artist helps us to further our educational aim of encouraging creative expression and nurturing an appreciation of the arts in our community,” said S. Alice Mong, Executive Director of Asia Society Hong Kong Center.

With the staunch support from The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, the Asia Society Hong Kong Center can offer visitors free admission to this exhibition as well as a series of concurrent education programs. This contribution from the Trust follows the Former Explosive Magazine revitalization, a heritage preservation initiative which created a dynamic complex allowing ASHK to extend its educational programs to the larger community.

From drawings on envelops and cardboards that reveal Yoshitomo Nara' s spontaneous mind, to the photographs from the Sakhalin series that capture the stories on the remote Russian island, the works displayed in the exhibition showcase the artist’s creativity in different, and sometimes unconventional, mediums. Another highlight of the exhibition is puppy sculptures to be installed in the outdoor area in the center while some will be placed near an eye-catching sculpture Fountain of Life, a large white teacup with stacked heads that seem to cry tears. The purity of the work’s glossy white finish and the surreal subject matter are at once sweet and eerie.

Educational programs for the community:
The donation by The Hong Kong Jockey Club has also made it possible for the Asia Society Hong Kong Center to craft a series of educational programs to complement the Life is Only One: Yoshitomo Nara exhibition. Running throughout the exhibition period, these programs include public lectures by Yoshitomo Nara and a range of scholars, as well as weekend tours and workshops, and an Illustration Master Class series hosted by local artists with classes for young people and the community across-the-board.

Exhibition visitors will also have the chance to create their own works of art at a drop-in studio set up every last Sunday of the month at Asia Society Hong Kong Center Landscape Terrace from noon, following the “Sunday with Nara” workshops. Art lovers of all ages are invited. Completed works can be entered into the “Life is Only One – Imagination of Life” Art Competition, with winning pieces exhibited at Asia Society Hong Kong Center’s Chantal Miller Gallery during the summer of 2015.

Outreach partner Hang Lung Properties Limited will join the Asia Society Hong Kong Center to ensure that as many people as possible can be inspired by Nara’s work. Through educational workshops and other events at the following locations of Hang Lung: Fashion Walk in Causeway Bay, The Peak Galleria and Kornhill Plaza in Quarry Bay, the educational mission of the exhibition will reach out even further to the local community.

Exhibition details:
Life is Only One: Yoshitomo Nara will be held at Chantal Miller Gallery, Asia Society Hong Kong Center, from March 6 – July 26, 2015, with free admission.

The gallery is located at the Asia Society Hong Kong Center, 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty. It is open from 11am – 6pm, Tuesday to Thursday, with an 8pm close on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. To accommodate an expected increase in visitors during Art Basel Hong Kong (March 16 – 19), the Gallery will be open from 11am – 8pm on those few days.

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