Big, wobbly, haunting eyes follow you around the room in Yoshitomo Nara’s new exhibition. They’re the same eyes the Japanese artist has been painting for decades, peering out of his signature cartoony, simple, genderless figures.
Those little comic book characters bng on drums, dance, pick flowers and furrow their brows throughout this show. They stare out at you from the walls of a little house Nara’s built in the middle of the gallery, they’re on canvas and cardboard and paper and envelopes, scrawled with political slogans and punk lyrics.
The acrylic canvases are sort of gross and soft focus, really horrible. But the rest of the works here have this mega-appealing, rushed, DIY feel that’s totally infectious. There’s a big part of me that really wants to resist over-intellectualising and hyper-analysing Nara’s work and just take it for what it is. That’s one of the perks of creating such a unique, defined aesthetic: the way it looks is enough.
If you like Nara, you’ll like this show, if you don’t, you won’t. There’s nothing that will persuade you either way, because the whole thing is exactly what he’s always done: just a bunch of little punk rock creeps, kicking out the jams and sticking it to the man. Unapologetically simple art by an artist who looks like no one else.