The lecture theatre is brimful of bright-eyed people listening to a lecture by Kohei Nawa — an artist considered by many to be at the forefront of contemporary art in Japan. The public lecture offers insight into the design and production process of the often complex and intricate work on display in his current solo exhibition titled "Synthesis" at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo.

Nawa grew up in the Kansai region and studied art locally and in London. He later spent time in both the New York and Berlin art scenes, which helped him find direction and inspiration for his work. Since his first solo exhibition in Osaka in 2000, he has quickly built both a domestic and international reputation for himself at the relatively young age of 36. Yet, it is in his necessarily large art "factory" named Sandwich in the suburbs of Kyoto that he brainstorms and creates his often grandiose work, which could comfortably sit alongside pieces by Damien Hirst or Jeff Koons.

His distinctive focus on choice of mediums, which range from polyurethane foam and silicon oil to stuffed toys he buys on the Internet and covers in perspective-defying glass beads, helps create art that is both tactile and visually impressive.