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Kohei NAWA: Transcode
Written by Takeshi HIRATA   
Published: November 16 2009

Photo by Nobutada OMOTE, courtesy Gallery Nomart, copy right (c) Kohei Nawa

     There is a “cell” emitting light to the darkness in the gallery space. Actually, the “cell” is a “sculpture” of liquid crystal display monitor which is covered with transparent spheres of variable size. Thus, the light is being leaked from images which are projected on the monitor included in the cells. A picture cell of image (PixCell) is decomposed and fractured through the transparent cells surrounding the monitor. Then, an illusion which may also be called a sculpture of image appears in front of us.

     Such optical refraction as mentioned above would remind us of the “Vitrine” series which Katsuhiro Yamaguchi created in the 1950s. Regarding the “Vitrine” series, mall glass was incorporated in a boxlike case and therefore the color of the inside of the case looks refracted if viewed from different angles. Nawa’s works may also be said to be part of variations of optical play games which were created utilizing optical principles.

     Nevertheless, Yamaguchi’s creations seem to have been made based only on the concept used in the field of painting and planar work. This is because his works can be classified into the painting field in that they make viewers conscious of illusions which are consisted within frames. In contrast to works made by Yamaguchi, Nawa’s pieces would be considered as creations which raise a question about a borderline of the field of sculpture. This is due to the fact that the images, which can be glimpsed through a number of cells surrounding the monitor, appear to viewers as cells which emit light, without showing clear illusions to them. This seems to be that a cell of liquid crystal display (PixCell) grows like a material and the PixCell itself emits light. An image - PixCell - which is decomposed and crushed through materials and bodies may be called “light” which shakes the borderline of the field of “sculpture”.

     Nawa’s creations shown in this exhibition may give viewers their material image more thinly than that of his past works in which materials were covered with cells which had been regarded as a synonym for his pieces. This is because in his past works the existence of materials which were included inside of the creations attracted us with their nature as objet d’art. Nonetheless, in this exhibition, we cannot grasp an image of the inside of his creations which are covered with cells. We cannot find any fetishistic nature as a material in the exhibits.

     Here, let me call Nawa’s works shown in this exhibition “gases”, in contrast to his past creations which can be regarded as solids or liquids. In this way, his works presented in this exhibition seem to be insubstantial though they cling on to our bodies. This would turn out to be clear when we feel as if our bodies are assimilated in the PixCell while walking toward the back of the gallery space.

     Nevertheless, this kind of feeling would be exactly what we feel everyday in the real world. Living in the world surrounded by intangible images - this is also the reality of today. This exhibition shows us such an epitome of the world. What kind of vapor phase will the gases be transformed into? We have no choice but to gaze at the movement of light which is generated from his creations.
(Translated by Nozomi Nakayama)

Last Updated on June 13 2010

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