THE MISSION PROJECTS is pleased to announce an EXPOSURE solo booth at EXPO Chicago, featuring new work by Peruvian artist Kenji Nakama. A native of Lima, Nakama made his U.S. debut in a group exhibition last spring at THE RESIDENCE. This presentation will be his first solo exhibition in the United States.

Selected work from two of Nakama’s most recent series, Folding Studies and Exhaled Series, will be presented. These compositions are made of manipulated strips of blank white paper. Some are representational – from Warhol’s iconic image of Marilyn Monroe to Van Gogh’s self-portrait – and some are abstract, but all elicit a sense of movement, the gestures of brushstrokes, or the illusion of oil paint dragging on a surface. These visual effects, produced by the dense accumulation of paper sheets, become evident as the viewer physically moves around the piece, changing their perspective and angle. The complex, meticulous arrangement of the paper sheets reveals the physical nature of the material, and the fragility of the paper creates a fluid conversation connecting optical, minimalist, and geometric art. 

For each composition, Nakama composes a set of strict and specific parameters, then restricts his process to these rules as he manipulates paper strips contained within a frame. The rules encourage unexpected outcomes by pushing the limits of the material under controlled conditions. The physical properties of the material – color (shades of white) and opacity (caused by variation in weight) – allow the paper to adopt organic forms, thus replicating patterns and gestures which, as the artist describes it, is “the process of letting materials speak.” Centering his belief that inert, passive objects are in fact entities – living organisms and subjects that carry energy, memory, and power to act – Nakama approaches mundane and everyday materials from an animistic perspective and aims to blur the boundaries between subject and object, the organic and the industrial, art and craft.

KENJI NAKAMA (b. 1982, Lima, Peru) received an MFA from Frank Mohr Institute (Groningen, Netherlands) and a BA from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (Lima, Perú). He recently exhibited solo exhibitions at Now: Gallery (Lima, Perú), Galería Impakto (Lima, Perú), Lucia de la Puente Gallery (Lima, Perú), and Alliance Française’s of Miraflores (Lima, Perú). He has been included in group exhibitions at Centro Cultural PUCP (San Isidro, Peru), Centro Cultural Inca Garcilazo de la Vega (Lima Perú), Gallery Van Gelder (Amsterdam), and Bailly Gallery (Geneva, Switzerland). He lives and works in Lima Perú.