FOAM | Kohei Nawa


September 23 to November 12, 2017

Tuesday to Saturday

10 am to 10 pm

Sundays and public holidays

10 am to 6 pm


Free admission


Kohei Nawa is one of Japan's most renowned young artists. His work is marked by extensive research on innovative materials and by an aesthetic obsession: His outlook on molecular structures, on which all life is built. This microscopic view of how the world is organized beyond the limits of our perception is what moves this fascinating artist, who expresses himself fluently in sculpture, painting, installations, architecture, video, and fashion.

The deep interest in the way things are organized or disorganized is the essence of this first monograph project by a contemporary artist at JAPAN HOUSE. Foam: Small bubbles or cells that constantly form on the surface of a liquid similar to a soap. They accumulate to form an autonomous structure, each bubble being conditioned to its cycle of birth and destruction, similarly to the condition of our own cells, which circulate, metabolize, and die.

Strolling through this space is an experience similar to walking on clouds, but clouds of organic matter, like the structures of our insides. This idea, of the encounter between the imaginary landscape and the internal landscape, is disconcertingly innovative - and, if you consider that it results from simulation using industrial, chemical, and technological techniques in the hands of an artist, even more. To portray the biochemical dynamics of living beings and, at the same time, create a live simulation system that reacts to the stimuli inside it, is also a powerful feat of finding scales between the presence of the real world and the dynamics of the microscopic world.

Kohei Nawa is science fiction. His recipes are always unusual, and they are always at the limit of technical infeasibility. He challenges the language he invented to expand the limits of the relationship that these disciplines can establish with art. It can be considered that Nawa belongs to the tradition of alchemist artists, who invented their own environment while making art. On the other hand, it is consistent with Japanese multidisciplinarity, which seeks ways to express innovation and research as vectors of artistic expression. Japanese art, even when conceptual, is always guided by the expression of the object. Kohei Nawa turns strong concepts into objects that are sometimes tangible, sometimes intangible.

The sublime part of his work is in giving shape and image to the silent invisible molecules of which we are made. Opening that door to perception is like opening a telescope into our most vital origin.

Marcello Dantas

From September 23 to November 12
JAPAN HOUSE São Paulo – Avenida Paulista, 52 – Second floor
Opening hours:
Tuesday to Saturday, from 10 am to 10 pm
Sundays and public holidays, from 10 am to 6 pm
Free admission

Music: Mirihiko Hara

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