• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2605

    Asian Contemporary Art (Day Sale)

    25 May 2008, Hong Kong

  • Lot 567


    Price Realised  


    (Born in 1953)
    Dream of White Lotus
    oil on canvas diptych
    181 x 120 cm. (71 1/4 x 47 1/4 in.) x 2 pieces
    Painted in 2001

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    The life of a lotus flower begins at the bottom of a pond. Attracted by light, it slowly grows up towards the water's surface. Once it reaches the surface, it blossoms and turns into a beautiful flower. In both Hinduism and Buddhism the lotus flower is a symbol for awakening to the spiritual reality of life and thus represents the true essence of life itself. From a religious point of view, the flower stands for the struggle of life at its most basic form: growing out of the mud, it rises to become the epitome of powerful beauty.

    Inspired by this symbolism, Etsuko Kawamura's Dream of White Lotus (Lot 567) is a hymn to nature's miraculous creations. Applying his photo-realistic signature style, this diptych work displays the artist's fascination with the subject matter, his sensitive awareness of the effect of light and shadow and his sense for composition. Drawn as a close-up of a field of lotuses, it is as if one would walk within these huge, rich green leaves stretching toward the sun. Only on the right side of the diptych, discreetly at the back, yet in full bloom, do the sensually opened blossoms of the flower appear. The colors are vivid but harmonious, touched by a warm ray of light, which gives the painting, an element of nostalgic romanticism. As referenced in the title of the painting, the sense of dream reveals itself in the milky white background which creates an almost surreal atmosphere of an open ending. The contrast between green and white is strikingly intense and emphasizes Kawamura's carefully studied, delicate brushstroke. The artist creates perspective and depth of field through a clever play of light and shadow, shades of color and layers of leaves, composing an image of wild, jungle-like nature. Dream of a White Lotus expresses the ideal of untouched, free-growing nature.