Misaki Kawai (河井美咲) is a japanese artists (b. 1978 in Osaka) based in New York city. Kawai’s cartoon like universe is filled with colorful characters, who appear to come from the dream world of film, music and comics. Strongly influenced by today’s consumer society – of which she herself is a part – Kawai fuses East with West, humour with seriousness and dreams with reality. The result is both chaotic and exuberant.
Misaki Kawai has been living in New York since 2000. There she collects, as she does on her many trips abroad, ideas, materials and objects from markets and low-cost stores. Inexpensive things like mass- produced plastic toys, stickers, ceramic ware and fabrics. Her artists’ books are often decorated with patterned pieces of fabric or strings, making every book unique. They can be about the adventures of a Yeti warrior or be linked to her travels, such as Nepali Special or China Special.
In her playful installations, Kawai creates imaginative worlds in materials such as papier-mâché, wood, cardboard and fabric.These doll house-like universes feature an incredible wealth of detail. A recurring theme bas been space and the futuristic worlds of tomorrow. All the colours, shapes, textures and patterns give her installations almost a kaleidoscopic effect, and it is difficult to withstand this hubbub of sweet, dream-like fantasy beings and colourful constructions. She always depicts places filled with movement, action and events.
In the context of Japanese contemporary art, Kawai can be seen as part of a continuum of female artists such as Atsuko Tanaka and Yayoi Kusama who investigate the use of color, material, patterning and performance in their art.
She has exhibited all around the world – from MoMA PS1, New York to Malmö Konsthall, Sweden and Watari Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo.