Kyoto-based artist Kohei Nawa created a huge and immersive cloud-like installation made of small bubbles. Located in a dark room, the piece consists of floating foam that accumulates to form an ethereal structure that spreads across space. In a statement about the artwork, Nawa says, “Each bubble cannot escape the cycle of birth and destruction, which is not unlike the way our cells operate as they metabolize and circulate.”
Born in the ancient city of Kyoto (Japan) in 1975, Kohei Nawa studied at the Kyoto City University of Art, and in 1998 moved to London and attended a sculpture course at the Royal College of Art.
In London, he was exposed to contemporary artists such as British sculptor Antony Gormley. The symbolic art of Buddhism and Japanese Shintoism are additional Nawa’s influential inspirations that characterize several of his idiosyncratic works.
Nawa has become one of the most renowned artists in Japan, and his artistic production spans from sculptures and architectural interventions to installations and fashion. Nawa is at the forefront of a new generation of Japanese creative minds, grouped in an old sandwich factory located outside Kyoto, named SANDWICH, whose aim is to overstep popular labels of manga and anime in order to offer a less obvious view of Japanese contemporary art and culture.
Kohei Nawa used a mixture of detergent, glycerin, and water to create the bubbly forms of his installation, entitled Foam. Described by the artist as being “like the landscape of a primordial planet”, the large cloud-like forms were pumped up from the floor in eight different locations, creating a scene that was constantly in motion inside an otherwise black room. The artist experimented with different quantities of the three ingredients to create a foam stiff enough to hold a shape without being affected by gravity.
“Small cells bubble up ceaselessly with the slight oscillations of a liquid,” said Nawa, explaining the process. “The cells gather together, totally covering the liquid as they spontaneously form a foam, an organically structured conglomeration of cells.”
He added – “The risen volumes of foam link together and reach saturation, but continue to swell, occasionally losing vitality and spreading out over the ground.”