Installed in the newly renovated Hanover Square in central London, opposite Pace’s London Gallery, Peace Head (2021) marks the first time Yoshitomo Nara has presented a work of public sculpture in the UK.
This large-scale sculpture sits in the center of the green, making Nara’s iconic work accessible to all, and bringing his distinctive cast of characters into three dimensions.
Nara’s work spans painting, drawing, photography, large-scale installations, and sculpture in ceramic, bronze, and fibre-reinforced plastic. Influenced by popular music, memories of childhood, and current events, he filters these references through an exploratory realm of feelings, loneliness and rebelliousness especially, which span autobiographical as well as broader cultural sensibilities.
First conceived at Nara’s alma mater, Aichi Prefectural Art School in Japan, this sculpture, which measures nearly two and a half meters in height, began as a palm-sized clay maquette. Cast in aluminium and covered in a white urethane coating, Peace Head retains a strong sense of physicality and materiality. The imprints where Nara has pulled, smoothed, and slammed the clay remain visible in the deep incisions where he has gouged into the malleable material and the flat base where the clay has been dropped from a height. Inextricably linked to his painting, drawing, and installation practice, Nara’s distinctive sculptural work melds the physical, natural world with portraiture.