Yoshitomo Nara

Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art

The children in Yoshitomo Nara’s paintings have a malicious air, and they are quite alone. The puppies are good and patient. Whose childhood is this? Your Childhood, 2001, a large installation, consists of a mirror with the words YOUR CHILDHOOD affixed to it in letters made from sulky-looking rag dolls; on a facing wall the soft, friendly resigned snout of a white dog pokes out from under a blanket in its dog bed. The entire oeuvre—installations, paintings, and drawings—of this artist born in 1959 seems to deal with childhood, that happy period regulated more by instinct than morals, let alone imposed social rules. My surprise on observing here that much of Nara’s audience is composed of adolescents provoked this snap sociological analysis: Nara’s young public probably already experiences these works through nostalgia for the childhood they are still attempting to renounce. For

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