Nanami Hori at Neuer Essener Kunstverein

Artist: Nanami Hori

Exhibition title: Left Skin

Venue: Neuer Essener Kunstverein, Essen, Germany

Date: September 9 – November 12, 2023

Photography: ©All images copyright the artist and Philipp Kurzhals/Neuer Essener Kunstverein

The idiosyncratic works of the Japanese artist Nanami Hori are strongly influenced by the visual subcultures of Japan. However, her painting does not refer solely to their visual aesthetics, but to the subcultural, social and psychological dimensions of these visual phenomena. Ultimately, manga and anime form an extensive resonance in fan art, in which styles, characters or motifs are imitated, modified or expanded. In a second stage, these expressions of vernacular creativity form a hook for social interaction between often otherwise unknown people, as this distinct form of fan art is shared, exchanged, but also created together. As a result of this interpersonal distortion, subjects from manga and anime form various splices and logical breaks, which Hori makes productive for her paintings. In a sense, this very unique, culture-specific form of appropriation sets the conceptual and compositional framework of Hori’s work.

In “Left Skin”, her exhibition at the Kunstverein, the artist navigates the complete range of her affective repertoire. The multi-part work “Reaction” shows the response of a person directly before a collision with a car in a strong temporal stretch. The motif of being run over is found in other pictures in the exhibition, poetically combining with the emotional uprooting that many people feel when they leave behind the place where they grew up – their home. The process of cutting the cord, of detachment, is touched on in several pictures, including “Cross-Sectional Area” or “New Dimension”, with the metaphor of pupation, but also interlocked motivically with complex landscape pictures such as “Gardening Shop”, “Memory-loss Bear” or “Local Fun”. The latter memorialize Hori’s home town of Tama, but sublimate the personal sentiment into a meditation on personality developments and their dependence on abstract concepts, conventions and idioms. Of course, such a discussion of the applications of abstracts offers a wealth of possibilities to open out the (formal) dependency of figuration and abstraction in painting.

Nanami Hori (*1995) lives and works in Tokyo. She has had solo exhibitions at XYZ Collective, Tokyo and Bel Ami, Los Angeles as well as numerous exhibition participations worlswide. Left Skin is her first institutional solo exhibition.