Artist: Kohei Nawa (Japanese, born 1975)
Period: Heisei period (1989–present)
Medium: Mixed media; taxidermied deer with artificial crystal glass
Dimensions: H. 80 11/16 in. (205 cm); W. 59 1/16 in. (150 cm); D. 78 3/4 in. (200 cm)
Credit Line: Purchase, Acquisitions Fund and Peggy and Richard M. Danziger Gift, 2011
Accession Number: 2011.493a–j
Rights and Reproduction: © Kohei Nawa
This taxidermied deer has been completely transformed through the artist’s use of variably sized “PixCell” beads, a term he invented. PixCell combines the idea of a “pixel,” the smallest unit of a digital image, with that of a “cell.” Whether intentionally or unintentionally on the artist’s part, PixCell-Deer#24 resonates with a type of religious painting known as a Kasuga Deer Mandala, which features a deer—the messenger animal of Shinto deities—posed similarly with its head turned to the side, and with a round sacred mirror on its back. In Japanese art, the deer is often depicted as a companion of ancient sages and has auspicious and poetic associations.