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Kohei Nawa at the Forum

L_B_S, questioning the processes of life

Kohei Nawa's work addresses the Kantian question: what can we know? L_B_S presents objects, stuffed animals, musical instruments, artificial fruit – their surfaces transformed by bubble-like "cells" or "froth", encouraging viewers to reflect on their perception of the world.

Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès - Kohei Nawa at the Forum
© Seiji Toyonaga

Any discussion of Japanese artist Kohei Nawa invariably refers to the cell and its physical envelope – an important leitmotiv in his work. Instigated in 2003, Kohei Nawa's exhibition series, under the generic title PixCell, explores the "skin" of objects that have undergone hitherto unprecedented transformations. L_B_S presents a more comprehensive survey of his work: Liquid, Beads and Scum summarises three stages in the development of cellular tissue. Stage one: the maternal (amniotic) liquid in which cells evolve. Stage two: bubble-like glass beads coating the objects, forming a new interface between us and them. The beads represent the cells that shape our tactile memory, our conventional vision of the world (think of the "pixellated" images that form when we close our eyes).

The final stage: "froth", or the foam-like husk resulting from the transformation of cells, which the artist seeks to represent. Here, objects are covered with a polyurethane resin that reacts on contact with the air, altering their proportions. The Fondation was struck in particular by Kohei Nawa's questioning of the nature and processes of life, through the prism of art.

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