• Asian Contemporary Art (Day Sa auction at Christies

    Sale 2726

    Asian Contemporary Art (Day Sale)

    30 November 2009, Hong Kong

  • Lot 1523


    Price Realised  


    (B. 1933)
    White Bird
    signed 'yayanagi' in English, dated '76' (lower left)
    oil and liquitex (acrylic) on canvas
    117 x 91 cm. (46 x 35 7/8 in.)
    Painted in 1976

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    Born in Hokkaido and living amongst a herd of over 200 horses, Go Yayanagi's daily interaction and studies of animals, birds and fish profoundly influenced his future artistic endeavors. Determined to pursue greater natural expanses and the origins of life, at age 24 Yayanagi embarked on a two year journey through the Mediterranean, Brazil, finally chasing the sun to Africa. Promptly enamored with safari animals, the hot sun and vibrant cultures unknown in Northern Japan, Yayanagi's oeuvre vividly depicts the contagious warmth and glee of the Southern hemisphere. In the late 1960s, his apprenticeship at Atelier 17 under S.W. Hayter in Paris taught him the principles of etching and lithograph, a practice whose compositional elements and employment of colors influenced his 1970s and 1980s paintings. From traveling itself to the patterns of wildlife, Yayanagi's effervescent works reveal the combined influences of his voyages and his Japanese heritage.

    Though overwhelming with lines and electric colors, the composition and motifs of The Ominous Moment before being Pounded in the Sand (Lot 1524) is a cohesive demonstration of modern and contemporary Japan. The definite black lines follows Japanese woodblock prints of his predecessors while the dissecting circular and sporadic lines are reminders of calligraphy and the importance of yen in Japan. Interconnecting this with the tarantula, cropped bird and zebra patterns accentuates Yayanagi's adventurous spirit pervades the canvas with emblems of travels and exoticism. Yayanagi irrationally intertwines images in varying descending or ascending order, purposefully distorting visual perspective emphasizing sporadic excitement, lightening the overall mood. From aerial perspectives, side views to magnified images, Yayanagi creates a playful atmosphere for the viewer's eyes to feast. Evaluating the components individually does not equate to the whole work, rather the whole must be regarded as one composition and when done so reveals a passionate rendition of years of accumulated travel and life knowledge, a story of his artistic practices and desires. White Bird (Lot 1523) and Cosmic Space 2 (Lot 1525) are equally playful, with an aerial perspective of the earth; White Bird magnifies in various degrees a coral-like plantation, emphasizing the artist's respect for all organisms. It becomes our responsibility to piece together a story and create abstract and imaginative forms from the liquid colors of Yayanagi's canvas, constructing a world within a world. His ingenious yet autobiographical conceptions are aptly able to reach a universal audience, striking in their astonishing colors that seem to bear a life of their own.


    Shizuoka, Japan, Ikeda Museum of 20th Century Art, Yayanagi Go- Challenge to Art, 1 August-30 November, 1981.