• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2605

    Asian Contemporary Art (Day Sale)

    25 May 2008, Hong Kong

  • Lot 730

    EISUKE SATO

    Price Realised  

    EISUKE SATO
    (BORN IN 1973)
    UNTITLED & SELF PORTRAIT
    SIGNED, TITLED AND DATED 'EISUKE SATO: 2004; UNTITLED' IN ENGLISH (ON REVERSE); SIGNED, TITLED AND DATED 'EISUKE SATO; SELF-PORTRAIT; 2006' IN JAPANESE & ENGLISH (ON REVERSE)
    TWO ACRYLIC ON CANVAS
    162 X 162.5 CM. (63 3/4 X 64 IN.) & 61 X 61 CM. (24 X 24 IN.)
    PAINTED IN 2004 & 2006 (2)


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    THE DISQUIETING PAINTINGS OF SATO SUMMON AN UNSETTLING PHYSICAL RESPONSE. SATO'S PERSONAL TREPIDATION TOWARDS MODERN LIFE IS DOGGEDLY REPEATED THROUGHOUT HIS PAINTINGS, EXHIBITING THE ILL REALITY OF THE EXCESSIVE RESPONSIBILITIES PEOPLE MUST ENDURE IN THE PERPETUALLY MODERNIZING SOCIETY. WITH A CHRONIC FEAR OF INTERPERSONAL JUDGMENT AND HUMILIATION, SATO'S WORKS EXPRESS THE DEPRESSION HE, AND PERHAPS FELLOW CITIZENS FEEL IN THEIR STRIFE TO KEEP IN PACE WITH THE HIGH EXPECTATIONS SET BY SOCIETY.

    SATO EMPLOYS WARM HUES AND TONES SUCH AS OKRA, GREY AND TEAL AS A SITE FOR HIS MENTALLY DISQUIET WORKS. THE FLATNESS OF THE CANVAS ALONGSIDE THE ELONGATED FORMS OF HIS PAINTINGS ONLY FURTHER EMPHASIZES THE ANXIETY AND DEJECTION EXPERIENCED BY THE ARTIST. SATO'S DELICATE PAINTING TECHNIQUE DRAWS OSTENSIBLY PEACEFUL TALES, AS THE GENTLE YET SAD COLORS REPRESENT THE PURITY OF MIND THAT BECAME OVERSHADOWED WITH BY SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL STRESSES.

    THE SEMI-TRANSPARENT MACROBIOTIC FORMS- A FREQUENTED MOTIF- ONCE AGAIN APPEARS IN FULL HAPPINESS (LOT 734), EROSION #2 (LOT 733), SURRENDER(LOT 730) AND SELF PORTRAIT JULY 2006. THESE ATYPICAL, HUMAN FORMS OBTRUDE QUIETLY FROM THE DEPTHS OF THE EARTH (SURRENDER), THE SEA (EROSION #2) AND PLAINS OF NOTHING. AS THE FACES DISINTEGRATE, THEY DEMONSTRATE DESPERATION FOR FREEDOM AND AIR. IN EACH PAINTING, THESE SLOW GELATINOUS FORMS STRUGGLE TO STAY AFLOAT AS THEIR BODIES MELD INTO THE EARTH WITH THE IDEA THAT THE ARTIFICIAL ENVIRONMENT OF SOCIETY IS HOSTILE TO THE INDIVIDUAL, ONE IS LEFT ENGULFED WITH A FEELING OF ULTIMATE BETRAYAL AND SUSCEPTIBILITY, THUS THE DISSOLVING OF THE FACE. IN BOTH UNTITLED (LOT 730 AND 733) PIECES, A GREATER SOCIETAL IMPACT IS IMPLIED BY THE HIGHLY VOLATILE HOUSES WAVERING DRUNKENLY IN THE AIR. IN ONE PAINTING, THE HOUSES DROWNS INTO A POND OF THICK BLACK SUBSTANCE WHILE THE OTHER PAINTING SHOWS HOUSES SLUGGISHLY FALLING INTO AN ABYSS OF RED, SHARP TREES.

    IN SELF PORTRAIT JULY 2006THE VIEWER IS STRUCK BY THE PERSONAL REPRESENTATION OF SATO'S EMOTIONS. THOUGH SATO'S FACE MELTS INTO HIS SHOULDERS AND HIS FEET SINK EVERY SO SLIGHTLY INTO THE GROUND, THE VIEWER IS STILL ABLE TO LOOK INTO THE SUBJECT'S EYES AND RELATE TO HIS TROUBLES. IN EVERY INSTANCE, THERE IS ONE LONE FIGURE ON THE CANVAS WHO MUST SUCCUMB TO HIS OR HER INNER ANGUISH. IT IS ONLY THE AUDIENCE WHO SEES THROUGH THE TRANSLUCENT LAYERS OF THE SUBJECT AND THEREFORE FORMS AN EMPATHETIC RELATIONSHIP WITH THE PAINTING AND PAINTER, READY TO COMMISERATE OVER THE HORRORS OF SOCIETY, TOGETHER.

    AS QUICKLY AS TECHNOLOGY HAS PROPELLED US UNARMED INTO THE FUTURE, BLUE EYE AND RED EYE (LOT 734) AND ROCK (LOT 734) SHOW A PROGRESSION IN SATO'S WORKS AND HIS PERHAPS CHANGING SENTIMENTS. THE FACES OF HIS SUBJECTS ARE INCREASINGLY OBSCURE AND TAKE ON AS ABSTRACT FORMS, CLOSE TO BEING BEYOND RECOGNITION. THEIR NOSES ARE OVERSTRETCHED AND THEIR EYES DEFORMED AS IF STUNG BY AN EXCESS OF VISUAL STIMULATION OF ADVERTISEMENTS, TECHNOLOGY, MOVIES AND TELEVISION. THE RESULT OF SUCH AMORPHOUS FACES IS THE PERCEPTION OF AN IMPACTED HUMAN.

    DESPITE A RATHER DREARY UNDERLYING THEM TO HIS WORKS, WE CANNOT IGNORE THE SMALL PATCHES OF BRIGHT COLOURS IN HIS CANVAS. WHETHER IT BE THE BRIGHT GREEN IN SURRENDER OR THE ELECTRIC RED OF UNTITLED (LOT 733) , THE COLOURS STAND AS A BALANCING FORCE AGAINST THE DARK THEMES. NOT ONLY DOES THIS ILLUMINATE THE COMPOSITION, IT ALSO INSTILLS A SLIVER OF FAITH AND OPTIMISM IN THE VIEWER. THESE SLIGHT BUT DISTINCTIVE COLOURS ALSO REMIND US THAT SATO HOPED THAT PEOPLE WITH SAME EMOTION EXPRESSED IN HIS PAINTINGS WOULD SEE THAT THEIR SADNESS IS NOT AN ISOLATED CASE BUT ONE SHARED BY MANY OTHERS.