No artist can be immune to the confusion, chaos and climate disasters taking place around the world right now. But there is more than one way to reflect these realities in your work. Japanese artist En Iwamura's response invokes a sense of lively and wondrous innocence with his paintings, sculptures, and installations, which take the viewer on something approaching a holiday for the mind.
A rising artist from Kyoto, a city steeped in culture and tradition, En Iwamura works mainly with ceramics and acrylic painting and is strongly influenced by the ancient history of his homeland. His ceramic sculpture series 'Neo Jomon: Beans' presents simple round forms of dynamic beings with childlike expressions that seem almost cartoonish.
Cast in pastel Ombres, these odd and fanciful shapes inspire a strange-yet-familiar feeling of peace, similar to the artist's abstract ink-on-paper paintings of neutral faces and geometrical patterns. He's also recently developed a plant-based installation that brings forth an ambiguous vision of tranquillity and explores the idea of 'Ma' – the Japanese concept of space and movement.
Both of these works are on show at a solo exhibition at WOAW Gallery in Hong Kong, entitled URLANDSCHAFT, available to view until 7 July.
The German title translates as 'holiday landscape', and En Iwamura describes the works on show as: "the original scenery from the bottom of the human heart, which are often accompanied by feelings of nostalgia but may also be a mental landscape rather than a real landscape".
Having previously seen his work exhibited in Belgium, France, Macau, Japan and the US, and acting as an artist-in-residence at China's Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute, URLANDSCHAF is En Iwamura's solo debut in Asia. It all takes place at Woaw Gallery, a contemporary gallery established by the fashion designer, entrepreneur and DJ Kevin Poon in 2019.
Existing across three locations between Hong Kong and Beijing, Woaw Gallery has previously produced and hosted exhibitions and group shows featuring artists such as Allison Zuckerman, Anna Weyant, Charlie Roberts, Cristina Banban, Grant Levy-Lucero, Jordy Kerwick, Koichi Sato, Simphiwe Ndzube, Sun Woo and Tide.