Misaki Kawai

Moko Moko Club

25. May 2024 - 02. Mar 2025

Explore the enchanting world of Misaki Kawai's artistic universe in the exhibition Moko Moko Club. One of the highlights is the gigantic sculpture named Arty, a lovable dog that invites the audience to pet and groom it using oversized combs. The exhibition also features a brand-new film accompanied by specially composed music. In the workshop Studio Nona, visitors can engage in creative activities that have been developed through collaboration with the artist. Throughout the exhibition period, there will be workshops on puppet making, costume production, animation, and electronic music production.

Misaki Kawai's colorful fantasy world is inspired by children's play and creative expression, a philosophy she calls "Art for Play." She cultivates playfulness and creativity in everyday life, opening new ways to experience art. Cute animals and peculiar creatures have a prominent place in her art. They have strong characters and are created with care and humor.

The artworks create a fantasy world that may seem childish and dreamlike but is closely connected to an international hybrid culture. Misaki Kawai's art seamlessly weaves influences from pop art and Japanese popular culture. Her expression skillfully navigates the fascination with cuteness in Japanese culture, known as "kawaii," and the stylistic concept of "heta-uma," which can be translated as "bad but good." Originating as a reaction against the polished style of official manga in 1970s Japan, the "heta-uma" movement consciously embraced a naive and "unskilled" visual language.

Moko Moko means fluffy. It is an onomatopoetic or sound-imitating word. Such words are common in the Japanese language but can also be found in most European languages. Words describing sounds of things or animals are typical onomatopoeias, such as meow, woof, or ding. Moko Moko is descriptive of Misaki's soft and tactile sculptures. The show invites you to become part of a club with fluffy animals!

Misaki Kawai was born in 1978 in Kagawa, Japan, and grew up in Osaka. She divides her time between East Asia, the USA, and Denmark and has an extensive international exhibition history. Misaki Kawai works in various media and materials, including interactive sculptures in faux fur, painting, drawing, and textiles. Her works are characterized by a low-tech "DIY” aesthetics and are colorful, extravagant, and humorous. She often collects materials from her travels and incorporates them into her works. Electronic music and video are also part of her art practice, along with the design of clothing collections, everyday objects, and artist books. Moko Moko Club is Misaki Kawai's first exhibition in Norway.

Misaki Kawai – Moko Moko Club is part of the exhibition series NONA at Stavanger Art Museum. Aimed especially at children and young people, the series explores the nature of participation, collaboration and performativity in contemporary art. The exhibitions invite the public to participate in diverse creative processes. The aim is to forge stronger bonds between seeing and doing and to have visitors gain hands-on experience with diverse artistic methods and techniques.

We welcome visitors of all ages to experience the exhibition. Children must be accompanied by an adult. All visitors are encouraged to treat the art works with care and caution.

Photo: Helle Navratil