Nawa Kōhei (Japanese, born 1975)
Mixed media: taxidermied deer with surfaced covered with glass, acrylic, and crystal beads
h. 80 3/4 in. (205 cm)
Purchase, Acquisitions Fund and Peggy and Richard M. Danziger Gift, 2011 (2011.493a-j)
The core of this sculpture is a taxidermied deer covered with resin, to which crystal, glass, and acrylic beads of varying sizes have been attached. Nawa Kōhei acquires taxidermied animals for his projects from auctions and online sources and then transforms them by a process of accretion using "PixcCell" beads, a term he invented. PixCell is a portmanteau word combining the idea of a biological "cell" with "pixel," the smalled unit of a digital image. Nawa's PixCell works, which he began creating in 2009, attempt to hybridize a biological entity and optical devices—in this case the beads through which the fur of the deer can be viewed. The animal is encased in an artificial skin of crystal globes that confounds normal ways of viewing things: one can peer into the inner form and spirit of the deer, but at the same time the surrounding space is transformed. This effect may be at first disorienting even discomforting, but in the process of distorting normal ways of seeing, reality is altered, and the viewer is taking momentarily to a world that operates according to different laws of perception.