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For Better or Worse

The Chronicle of Yoshitomo Nara



日本的豊田市美術館正在舉行奈良美智的回顧展,名為「for better or worse」。展覽中除了展示他於1987年至2017年間的繪畫、木雕等100多件作品外,還有他收集的唱片、書籍、洋娃娃等各種成為他的作品養分的東西。這個展覽有如奈良美智至今的編年史,回顧過時之時,他亦立誓:「For Better or Worse,不管走過的路如何,沿途風景好壞,他都會一直走下去。」

At first glance, I simply found the girl with piercing eyes drawn by Yoshitomo Nara quite adorable; I thought it was just a grumpy expression a child would have when being refused for candies. Upon a deeper examination, I finally came to enter the world of this young girl, and understand her doubt towards herself, human beings, the society and the world as a whole. Her lack of expression is not due to her lack of emotion. Rather contradictorily, it is the intense and mixed emotion she suffers that gives her such a look. It is a complicated expression that blends together delight, anger, sorrow, and happiness, all are so vivid that none can dominate her face. The plain background is actually a stark opposite of emptiness; a state reflecting the outcome of an overwhelming chaos.

The style of Nara evolves as he grows older. His earlier works are more sociable, which are closer to the direction of street art. The composition of his drawings becomes growingly minimalistic. Although it may appear less powerful to some, the piercing eyes of the girl hold a thousand words. The infectious vibe of the girl brings viewers to a wider but more melancholic world.

“Yoshitomo Nara for better or worse: 1987-2017” in Toyota Municipal Museum of Art is not only showcasing more than 100 pieces of Nara’s work created in the thirty years time, audience can as well see the nutrients that inspire his creation: records, books, dolls and other objects that he has collected. The exhibition can be seen as a chronicle of Yoshitomo Nara. While looking back, Nara also made a vow — for Better or Worse, be the path impressive or depressive, he is committed to continuing walking.