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    Sale 2605

    Asian Contemporary Art (Day Sale)

    25 May 2008, Hong Kong

  • Lot 701

    KAORI WATANABE

    Price Realised  

    KAORI WATANABE
    (BORN IN 1962)
    MOTIVES IN A CARPETED ROOM
    SIGNED AND DATED 'KAORI WATANABE: 2008' IN ENGLISH (ON REVERSE)
    OIL ON COTTON PANEL
    120 X 70 CM. (47 1/4 X 27 1/2 IN.)
    PAINTED IN 2008


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    THROUGHOUT HISTORY, ARTISTS HAVE USED THE REALM OF FANTASY AND DREAM TO APPROACH THE DIFFICULT TASK OF PORTRAYING THEIR LOVED ONES IN THE MOST ELEVATED AND IDEALIZED WAY AND TO REVEAL THE TRUE ESSENCE OF THEIR FEELINGS. MARC CHAGALL, FOR EXAMPLE, PAINTED FLOATING LOVERS, INSTRUMENTS AND ANIMALS, DRAPED IN LAYERS OF DEEP BLUE, TO PORTRAY A BYGONE LOVE OR AN IDEAL WORLD THAT DOES NO LONGER EXIST. IN HER PAINTINGS, KAORI USES SIMILAR ELEMENTS IN THE PORTRAYAL OF HER FAMILY, AS A VERY PERSONAL AND INTIMATE WAY OF EXPRESSING FEELINGS AND TELLING A STORY. IN BOTH THE UNCERTAIN ONES IN THE BATHROOM (LOT 702) AND MOTIVES IN A CARPETED ROOM (LOT 701), A FANTASY WORLD SUBMERGES WITH A SCENE OF EVERYDAY LIFE. IN THE LATTER, A FATHER LIFTS HIS DAUGHTER ON HIS ARMS TO GREET HER AFTER A LONG DAY OF WORK, CARRYING HER IN LOVING EMBRACE.

    THE COLOR COMPOSITION CREATES A CALM ATMOSPHERE, EMPHASIZED BY THE EARNEST, BUT FRIENDLY-LOOKING FACES OF THE MAN AND THE LITTLE GIRL WHO LOOK BACK AT THE VIEWER. THE COLOR OF THEIR CLOTHS AND SKIN IS A RANGE OF NON-REPRESENTATIONAL BLUE, PALE GRAYISH-BEIGE AND BROWN SHADES THAT BLEND IN WITH THE BACKGROUND OF THE PAINTING, COMPOSED OF A CURTAIN, A WALL AND A FLOOR. KAORI'S FINE AND DELICATE BRUSHSTROKE AND LOVE OF DETAIL ARE REFLECTED IN OBJECTS SUCH AS THE MAN'S WRIST WATCH OR THE TINY TAG ON THE GIRL'S PULLOVER SLEEVE. ONLY AT A CLOSER LOOK, DO THE SMALL AND CAREFULLY DRAWN ANIMALS AND INSECTS BECOME APPARENT. A MONKEY-PHOENIX OBSERVES FATHER AND DAUGHTER FROM A DISTANCE, A PARROT PICKS UP FOOD FROM THE FLOOR AND A BLACK DOG SNEAKS INTO THE PICTURE, CHASING A TINY BUG. BOTH MAN AND GIRL REMAIN UNAFFECTED BY ALL THAT, STANDING IN THE CENTER OF THE PAINTING - AN EPITOME OF CARING LOVE.

    IN THE UNCERTAIN ONES IN THE BATHROOM, KAORI HUMOROUSLY BALANCES THE FINE LINE BETWEEN REALITY AND FANTASY. THE NAIVE PLAY OF TWO CHILDREN, HER OWN DAUGHTERS, IN A BATHTUB IS CONTRASTED BY THE CREATURES THAT APPEAR IN THE SCENE. ON THE REAR BRIM OF THE TUB, A FAT TOAD WATCHES THE TWO GIRLS, WHILE ANOTHER ONE CLIMBS DOWN THE DARK BLUE TILES TO CATCH A WHITE BUTTERFLY. AN ANIMATED GHOST-LIKE SCULPTURE REVEALS ITS KNOWING SMILE, WHILE ON OTHER SIDE OF THE TUB, A WHITE SNAIL, BUGS AND BUTTERFLIES CRAWL ALONG THE ANTERIOR BRIM, DELICATELY DIPPING IN BATHWATER. THE CHILDREN'S CALM AND NATURAL REACTION TO THE CREATURES ENHANCES THE FEELING THAT REALITY HAS BEEN TRANSFORMED INTO A SCENE OUT OF A CHILDREN'S BOOK, IN WHICH CHILD-FAIRIES BATH IN THEIR MAGIC POND. ONLY THE SOAP BOTTLE ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE PAINTING AND YELLOW RUBBER DUCKS COUNTERBALANCE THE FAIRY TALE ATMOSPHERE. THE BATHROOM'S TILE JOINTS COMPILE A NET AND CREATE A PERSPECTIVE THAT DRAMATICALLY LEADS UP TO THE CENTER IN WHICH THE WHITE COLOR OF THE BATHTUB, THE PALE-BLUE AND GRAYISH-WHITE COLOR OF THE WATER AND THE PASTEL COLORS OF THE GIRL'S SKIN IS CONTRASTED WITH THE DARK BLUE TILES. THE GIRL'S DARK-BROWN HAIR FRAMES THEIR HEAD AND CREATES AN ADDITIONAL CONTRAST TO THEIR DELICATE SKIN AND EMPHASIZES THEIR FRAGILITY. OVERALL, HOWEVER, KAORI, LIKE IN MOTIVES IN A CARPETED ROOM, KEEPS THE COLORS IN THIS PAINTING MODULATED AND HARMONIOUS. AN INTIMATE PORTRAIT OF HER FAMILY, KAORI'S WORKS ARE BEAUTIFUL, ARTISTIC EXPRESSIONS OF HER FEELINGS AND SHOW HER SENSITIVE OBSERVATIONS OF HER SURROUNDINGS.