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Crystal-encrusted deer unveiled

Kohei NAWA
PixCell-Red Deer (2012) (detail)
from the Beads series 2000–
Red Deer (Cervus elaphus), glass, (crystal glass), vinyl acetate, acrylic urethane, epoxy resin
206.5 x 170.8 x 185.2 cm (overall)
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 2013
2013.554
© Kohei Nawa, courtesy Sandwich, Kyoto

A two-metre high crystal-encrusted taxidermied deer was unveiled at the National Gallery of Victoria last night. Created by Japanese artist Kohei Nawa, PixCell-Red Deer will stand sentinel at the Waterwall, capturing and reflecting the light with hundreds of droplets of large and small crystal and glass beads.

NGV Director Tony Ellwood said he was delighted to receive the gift of this important work through the ongoing legacy of the Felton Bequest.

“One of Japan’s most significant young artists, this visually captivating work by Kohei Nowa builds on the Gallery’s growing collection of contemporary art of the Asia Pacific region.”

PixCell-Red Deer will go on display in the foyer of NGV International, directly in front of the Waterwall. We look forward to seeing how visitors to the gallery react and engage with this stunning work.”

Wayne Crothers, Curator of Japanese Art, said PixCell-Red Deer is stunning and the most recent work from Nawa’s celebrated series, Beads, where he covers the entire surface of an object with clear glass beads.

Kohei NAWA
PixCell-Red Deer (2012)
from the Beads series 2000–
Red Deer (Cervus elaphus), glass, (crystal glass), vinyl acetate, acrylic urethane, epoxy resin
206.5 x 170.8 x 185.2 cm (overall)
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 2013
2013.554
© Kohei Nawa, courtesy Sandwich, Kyoto

“The artist describes this process as transforming the object into a ‘shell of light’. The process results in the texture and colour of the object’s surface being absorbed and fragmented into countless cells, which become a collection of image elements, in other words, image cells or ‘PixCell’,” said Mr Crothers.

The title of the series integrates ‘pixel’, which demonstrates digital image resolution, and the biological ‘cell’. While the subject of each work in the series incorporates its own attributes such as weight, and colour, its essence is lost or distorted through the production process in which glass, crystal and urethane coats cover its surface.

Kohei Nawa is part of Japan’s new generation of artists. Over the last several years Nawa has exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery in London, the Joan Miro Foundation in Barcelona, The Mori Museum in Tokyo and SCAI the Bathhouse, also in Tokyo. Nawa was the subject of a large survey show at The Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo in 2011, and his work was featured in the the 6th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Gallery of Modern Art | Queensland Art Gallery.  PixCell-Red Deer was recently presented at 2012 Art Basel Miami Beach.

PixCell-Red Deer is the most recent work to be donated from the bequest of Alfred Felton (1831–1904), one of the greatest benefactors in Australia’s visual arts history. Many of the NGV’s great works came to the NGV Collection through the generous legacy of the Felton Bequest managed by ANZ Trustees. From 1904 to 2013, more than 15,000 works have been purchased by the Felton Bequest for the NGV, with a current value of approximately $2 billion.

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Image caption:
Kohei Nawa
Japanese born 1975
PixCell-Red Deer 2012
taxidermied Red deer, glass, acrylic, crystal beads
209.0 x 163.0 x 194.5 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 2013
© Kohei Nawa, courtesy Sandwich, Kyoto

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