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‘Cuteness with a Devilish Twist’


Dairy Art Centre, Bloomsbury

3 October – 7 December 2014

Yoshitomo Nara, born in Hirosaki, Japan, in 1959, is one of the most renowned Japanese contemporary artists of his generation. Nara is best known for his paintings of children and animals sporting fiendish expressions and provocative stances, isolated against pastel-coloured backdrops. Exploring the psychological universe of childhood experience, Nara’s world straddles the make-believe of infantile imagination, adult anxiety and rebellion. His paintings are diligently layered with luminescent colour, making each textured brush stroke and gesture visible, revealing a broad range of artistic and cultural influences from modernist Japanese and Western paintings, literature, comic books and music (folk, rock and punk).

The Yoshitomo Nara exhibition currently on display at the Dairy Art Centre is the largest and most comprehensive exbition in the UK to date. Comprising a large body of recent, previously unreleased works and new commissiones, the exhibition includes paintings, sculptures and a unique retrospective of Nara’s drawings spanning 30 years.

Dairy Art Centre founders Nicolai Frahm and Frank Cohen are clearly passionate fans and buyers of Nara’s work and describe his works, quite rightly, as ‘cuteness with a devilish twist’.

Modesty Comics was invited to attend and we naturally fell in love with the manga-sized eyes of the female characters he uses, the incorporation of text in many pieces and the Japanese neo-pop style of his art.

‘Yoshitomo Nara’s Neo-Pop art visions, more likely than not depicting hyper-flattened girls with bulging eyes and troublesome smiles, will bring out the kid in you, luring you to the innocent days of picture books and comic strips. And yet there is a lurking-feeling of unrest – mischevious at best and dangerous at worst – that leads you to suspect that if Nara’s canvases extended just a bit further you’d see his sweet little muse is wielding a knife. This delicioud cocktail of nostalgic sweetened and punk mayhem has made Nara one of the world’s most iconic and accaessible stars.’ 

-Priscilla Frank, The Huggington Post, 13 March 2014

We highly recommend going to see this exhibition!

Thanks for having us Dairy Art Centre!