Oscar Oiwa: If I were living in . . .
Thursday, February 24 through Sunday, April 3
Opening Reception: Thursday, February 24 from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.
NowHere presents a solo exhibition of Oscar Oiwa, a Japanese Brazilian visual artist who has been living in New York for 20 years.
About If I were living in . . .
All artists must contend with art history. Some do it by adopting classical forms; some do it by subverting them. Others grapple with history by rejecting it, which is still a form of engagement.
In this body of work by Oiwa, we find an altogether unique approach, a conceptual meeting of the past and the present. In a practice that utilizes time travel, role playing, writerly conjecturing, and sheer artistic technique, Oiwa transposes himself into some of the headiest milieus that art history has to offer.
From times and places like Paris in 1910, Milan in 1925, Mexico in 1934, and São Paulo in 1956, Oiwa cleverly reveals his own annotated history of twentieth-century art. What are the most important movements and milestones to Oiwa? They are represented by the places he chooses to go in his fantasies. Osaka in 1959, New York in 1965, Tokyo in 1992 . . . these are the moments that stand out to Oiwa in his subjective chronology.
Meeting the Masters
There’s a virtual pantheon here too, located in the fictive element Oiwa brings to this project. Each work carries a complementary text in which, with irony and wit, we meet characters such as Pablo Picasso, Giacomo Balla, Diego Rivera, and Andy Warhol. Not only is Oiwa lucky enough to trip through time; he also manages to get involved with the prime movers wherever he goes!
Oiwa’s Ideal Workspace
Each era and location is expressed by Oiwa in two different forms of media. First there are masterful, large-scale oil paintings that portray the art studio he would have had in each of his chosen times. Through meticulous detail and subtle stylistic variations, Oiwa shows us the ideal workspace eight times over.
Complementing the visions in the paintings are 3D digital renderings of each space, which place an avatar of Oiwa himself in them. These uncanny scenes of temporal dislocation, accompanied by uniquely tailored soundtracks from seven-time Grammy nominee Zé Luis, are like daydreams given life. Each digital studio will be sold as an animated NFT, imparting these imagined pasts a solid element of virtual contemporaneity.
The capstone to this series is Oiwa’s painting and rendering of his current studio space in Long Island City, New York, where he has been working for the past ten years. This completes our journey through history by landing us in the present day. In that part of the city, which has undergone rapid and alarming gentrification, Oiwa plans to hold strong and continue making his work, synthesizing then and now.
To See the Exhibition
NowHere, a hub for emerging Japanese artists, is open from Wednesday through Sunday, 11:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. The focus of the SoHo gallery is on creatives who come from Japan to New York City, whether for a visit or to stay. They feature work from a broad spectrum of media, from digital to fashion, culinary arts to photography, and everything in between.