The Korea Herald


White Cube shows sublime beauty of Minoru Nomata's art

By Park Yuna

Published : Feb. 5, 2024 - 16:31

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"ascending descending-8" by Minoru Nomata (Courtesy the artist, White Cube)

Viewing Japanese artist Minoru Nomata’s paintings, one may feel as though they were hovering between reality and illusion. One wonders if the architecture depicted in them actually exists.

The exhibition “Far Sights” is the artist’s first show in Seoul, spanning two decades of his career. It brings together paintings, including the “Eastbound” series from the late 1990s, which draws from the prevailing influence of “Eastern aesthetics and “Japonisme,” a French term coined in the late 19th century that refers to the popularity and influence of Japanese art among western Europeans.

"Forthcoming Places-6" by Minoru Nomata (Courtesy of the artist, White Cube)

“Mironu Nomata is unfamiliar to Koreans, but their reaction is quite amazing with many people showing interest in his art,” said Yang Ji-ni, White Cube director in Seoul. Yang attributed the notion of the sublime, touching people's hearts, to the popularity of his paintings in Seoul.

A lighthouse or towering architecture that stands alone in the acrylic paintings may bring a feeling of loneliness or emptiness but also lead one to delve into aesthetics.

Born in Tokyo in 1955, Nomata has explored a lexicon of imaginary architectural and topographical forms to create paintings that transcend the specifics of time and place. The “Far Sights” series, drawings of imaginary lighthouses created with Conte crayon at a modest studio space that Nomata, likens to the intimate confines of the “chashitsu,” or a Japanese tea hut.

Some structures featured in his paintings have been demolished but persist in his memory, as shown in the “Ghost” series and “Rectangular Drawings.” Both depict towering structures inverted at their base with intangible foundations evoking imagery reminiscent of floating fortresses or remnants of a dream.

"Far Sights - 2010" by Minoru Nomata (Courtesy of the artist, White Cube)

The artist also has been influenced by the ambiance of generative electronic music and the landscapes of retro-futuristic science fiction films and literature, according to the gallery.

Nomata’s solo exhibition runs through March 2.