New York Art@Site Nara Yoshitomo White Ghost

Nara Yoshitomo


White Ghost

Asia Society (contemporary)
We are allowed to be the reversed
This artwork depicts a girl, you can see this because of the half-long hair. Her eyes are far apart and lay deep. Her cheeks and chin are unrealistic swollen and reminiscents a muzzle. Her nose is a simple ball and her mouth is a schematic line. The hands and the feet are not visible under schematic sleeves and skirt.
Nara Yoshitomo portrays a sweet and neat girl with the hair nicely combed aside. The eyes seem from an alien. With the muzzle I think about a dog in a comic strip. The shiny finish makes the artpiece artificial. Even with white color of the artwork, I tend to see colors.
With White Ghost Nara Yoshitomo creates an alien yet realistic world. I would not be surprised if suddenly multiple ghost-dolls would show up. Nara Yoshitomo makes the artificiality of the world more visible.
Nara Yoshitomo, in my opinion, wants to say that the artificial is accepted too much as normal. That people are unreal too often. This unreal is because we may not show our real emotions in our families, in our work, between unfamiliar people. We are not encouraged enough to be ourselves and to deviate from standards.
Nara Yoshitomo want the opposite. We may untied our hair. It’s good to look critical. We don't need to laugh as in a comic strip. We may tackle what we have chosen. Our feet may be visible and we may run away. We must have a color. We do not need to shine but may sometimes mat and sad.
White Ghost by Nara Yoshitomo is an artwork that you would like to change by all looking, into a real person with emotions, impulses, desires and is capable of concrete action.
By Theo,

Wij mogen het tegenovergestelde zijn
Dit kunstwerk beeldt een meisje uit, dat zie je aan het halflange haar. Haar ogen staan ver uit elkaar en liggen diep. Haar wangen en kin zijn onrealistisch opgezwollen en doen denken aan een snuit. Haar neus is een simpele bol en haar mond is een schematische lijn. De handen en de voeten zijn niet zichtbaar onder schematische mouwen en rokje.
Nara Yoshitomo beeldt een lief en keurig meisje uit met het haar keurig opzij gekampt. De ogen lijken van een buitenaard wezen. Bij het snuitje denk ik aan een hondje in een stripverhaal. De glimmende afwerking maakt het wezentje kunstmatig. Ook al is het persoontje helemaal wit, toch heb ik de neiging om kleuren te zien.
Met White Ghost creëert Nara Yoshitomo een vreemde maar toch ook realistische wereld. Het zou mij niet verbazen als plotseling meerdere ghost-poppetjes zouden opdagen. Nara Yoshitomo maakt de kunstmatigheid van de wereld zichtbaarder.
Naar mijn gevoel wil Nara Yoshitomo zeggen dat het kunstmatige teveel als normaal is geaccepteerd is. Dat mensen te vaak onecht zijn. Dit onechte ontstaat doordat wij onze werkelijke emoties niet mogen tonen in ons gezin, in ons werk, tussen vreemde mensen. Dat wij onvoldoende worden aangemoedigd om onszelf te zijn en af te wijken van normen.
Nara Yoshitomo wil het tegenovergestelde laten zien. Wij mogen ons haar los gooien. Het is goed om kritisch te kijken. Wij hoeven niet te lachen zoals in een stripverhaal gebeurt. Wij mogen aanpakken wat wij gekozen hebben. Voeten mogen zichtbaar zijn en wij mogen weglopen. Wij mogen een zelfgekozen kleur hebben. Wij hoeven niet te glimmen maar mogen soms mat en verdrietig zijn.
White Ghost van Nara Yoshitomo is een kunstwerk dat je graag al kijkende zou willen veranderen tot een echt mens met emoties, driften, verlangens en in staat is tot concreet handelen.
By Theo,
Art Production Fund is honored to present 'White Ghost' by Yoshitomo Nara in two locations on Park Avenue. 'We are thrilled to be working with Nara to introduce his first public sculptures in New York City' says Co-founders of Art Production Fund, Yvonne Force Villareal and Doreen Remen.
This public art installation will coincide with Nara’s exhibition 'Yoshitomo Nara: Nobody’s Fool' opening at Asia Society on September 9th 2010. During August of 2010 the Park Avenue Armory will host Nara for an open studio residency. The large sculptures stand near the entrances to Asia Society and Park Avenue Armory like komainu, mythical lion-like animal statues commonly placed at the entrance to shrines in Japan as guardians. Nara, who often uses dogs and children as subjects in his work has uniquely combined the two for 'White Ghost'. The sculptures will be glossy white, and will sit on rough stone like bases, referencing how artifacts and monuments from the past so often appear in museums. By presenting the sculptures in such a way, he considers the future ruins of his own work, and ultimately his own mortality. The sculptures are pleasing to a child and a passerby while being rigorous work for an art historian to ponder.
Yoshitomo Nara:
Since the Japanese pop movement in the 1990s, Yoshitomo Nara has received international acclaim with his distinct figurative style. His drawings, paintings and sculptures can be seen in the permanent collections at MOMA, New York, CAC Malaga, Spain, Queensland Art Gallery, Australia and his largest sculpture, a 27’ high concrete dog is permanently installed at the Aomori Art Museum, Japan. His mixture of vulnerability, rebellion and hopefulness within his artworks connects intimately with people worldwide. Nara also shares a deep connection with his fans and is always finding creative ways to interact with the public.
The other day a man crossing Park Avenue at 70th Street stopped at the feet of a 12-foot tall, sloe-eyed schoolgirl. She smiled down at him. He peered back. She didn’t respond — but how could she? She’s a ghost. A 'White Ghost,' to be exact, one of two glossy fiberglass statues by Yoshitomo Nara that the Art Production Fund installed on the Park Avenue median this week. (The other is at 67th Street.)
The demon child, a recurring figure in the Japanese Neo-Pop star’s art, is not there just to stop traffic. She also signals the arrival of 'Nobody’s Fool,' Nara’s first solo American museum show, at Asia Society. Spanning two decades of his painting, drawing, ceramics and sculpture, the retrospective takes up the whole of the museum’s two exhibition floors. On one of them, a warren of playhouse-like rooms made from scrap lumber (designed with his frequent collaborator, Hideki Toyoshima) supply walk-in frames for the naïf renderings of the eager pups and passive-aggressive children that catapulted the artist to international fame in the 1990s. These cartoonish images — the petulant 'Little Ramona' has become the Alfred E. Neuman of his life – have made him a cult hero in Japan, particularly to prepubescent girls who see themselves in his paintings.
In fact, his knowing innocents — defiant, guitar-playing, knife-wielding, cigarette-smoking tots with high foreheads and thin lips – mirror his own psyche. On Tuesday evening, just before a cocktail party to celebrate 'White Ghost' at the East Side home of Jane Holzer, the art collector, Nara told me his parents had been expecting a girl when he was born. They nicknamed him 'Michko,' a masculinization of the name she was going to get. He’s also haunted by an older sister who died at birth, and whom he suspects lives within him. 'Emotionally,' he said, 'part of me resembles a little girl.'
At the party, he did look rather winsome and far younger than his 50 years. 'That’s because I have no wrinkles on my brain,' he joked, twisting the bejesus out of a Yankees cap in his hand. Perhaps being surrounded by major Warhol portraits (of Holzer and Jackie Kennedy) and art glitterati like the collectors Phil and Shelly Fox Aarons, Nara’s dealer Marianne Boesky and her dad, Ivan Boesky, the Art Production Fund’s Yvonne Force Villareal, and John Unwin, the C.E.O. of the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas (a sponsor of 'White Ghost') made him nervous. 'Sometimes I’d like to return to the person I was before I was so popular,' he admitted. 'Without the pressure.'
He has something of a security blanket in his studio at home, a couple of hours north of Tokyo, which is filled with old toys. As a child he spent a lot of time alone with them, and generally running with his imagination. 'I never felt lonely,' he said. 'Only frustrated.' He wasn’t making drawings back then. They came later — lots of them. Growing up in rural Japan, he knew nothing about art. A teacher at his prep school encouraged him to go for it, after he aced a life-drawing class featuring nude female models. The Vietnam War was going on, and he was leaning toward a career in photojournalism.
Now, 30 years later, Nara’s art has made him a wealthy man. (The 'White Ghost' sculptures will cost any interested party $600,000 each.) He is also happily married to another artist, though she wasn’t at the party with him. (She’s shy.) They chose not to have children. 'That’s why I can make so much art,' Nara said. Judging from the show, he never stops making it, unless it’s to listen to rock and punk music, the driving force behind his work — not Japanese manga comics, as many people assume. He was obsessed with the Ramones, and the graphics on the covers of 1960s records by King Crimson, Janis Joplin, the Doors, Geoff Muldaur, Cat Stevens, the Yardbirds and the Rolling Stones, which inspired much of his drawing.
His own collection of those covers and many more are on display in 'Nobody’s Fool,' a title borrowed from a song by Dan Penn. Lyrics from other pop songs appear on many of his paintings (some made for albums by the Star Club, a Japanese punk band.) 'Born to Lose' appears on one of his recent ceramic jugs, which look a little like large nesting dolls but, riddled with hand-drawn expletives and a swastika, are more than a little edgier. The whole show has that seductive, push-and-pull touch — yearning here, derangement there — which keeps it from tipping over into teeth-gnashing, Hello Kitty sweetness.
How would he feel if people passing by one of his 'Ghost' sculptures starting spraying them with similar graffiti? 'It depends how talented the vandals are,' he said. 'If they’re good, that would be O.K. Otherwise not.'