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    Sale 2605

    Asian Contemporary Art (Day Sale)

    25 May 2008, Hong Kong

  • Lot 612


    Price Realised  


    (Born in 1971)
    Blouse & Beer Belly
    signed, titled and dated 'S Imano; 2007; Blouse; Beer Belly' in Japanese and English (on reverse)
    two oil on canvas
    72.5 x 61 cm. (28 1/2 x 24 in.) & 130 x 130 cm. (51 1/4 x 51 1/4 in.)
    Painted in 2007 & 2008 (2)

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    The magnification of specific body parts creates coziness between the painting and the viewer. By utilizing a tonal palette of delicate tactile colors, Shoko Imano allures a welcoming invitation from the audience to bond skin deep with his paintings. The close-up of the intimate area of is of those typically considered as shy comical embarrassments. Imano explores the supple tactual skin in untraceable smooth brush strokes arousing sensuality from the viewer. The artist's brilliance in inciting the audience's sensorial nerves in the subtle discolouration under the arm Imano's images Blouse (lot 612) and Beer Belly (lot 612) elicit hilarity, baffling the audience with contradictory feelings of tactile curiousity and repugnance.

    The colour composition of Blouse is pure whites and dreamy cream tones suggesting tranquillity and cleanliness. Yet the focal point of the painting is in the lower left corner where the taut fabric pulls tightly as if the figure is tightly squeezing her arm against her side in attempt to hide her accidental incident of sweat. The mild flesh toned stain slowly seeps through the shirt and over time will likely form a pool of pink to the great dismay of the woman. Though the refreshing colours are soothing, the viewer is repeatedly repelled by the stain, unsatisfied in the search for either comfort or a chance at humiliation. Imano's brushwork so convincingly creates a texture that it elicits not only a visual but olfactory response. The mere sight of a resemblance to sweat or blood stimulates a distinct and sharp imaginary scent to the nose.

    Aside from the admirable depiction of the tangible attribute of the body, Imano also triggers a philosophical discourse of dualism. This theory of knowledge is based on the idea of the two independent constituents of the body and the mind or soul. The artist questions the perception of 'self' that is distinct from the rest of the world as flesh demarcates the two natures into internal and external environment. He discusses the relationship between the body and the skin in order to question conceptions of reality, cultural construct and beings with strings of ontological concerns, thereby creating a dialogue between the audience and his paintings to discuss the relationship between them. Through the rendition of flesh, he continuously questions disparages between knowing the existence of self and the existence of others and what constitutes this division. Imano also deliberates over the eastern idea of Zen to overcome this division of dualism. The stain in Blouse shows Imano's attempt to strike a balance between the external and self perception through the lens of cultural behavioural norms. While not all outsiders may be aware, Imano suggest that the self is acutely conscious of her own physical existence. Her body is perspiring and constantly transfiguring while the world around her remains aloof as they all concentrate on his or her 'self'.

    The artist's subtle and dry sense of humour is evident in his depiction of an oversized belly in Beer Belly. Round and voluptuous, the overflowing stomach seemingly expands under the artist's brush. The forthrightly confronted viewer must attempt to conceal the hilarity of the large swelling torso as it protrudes through the transparent fabric, threatening to burst through his struggling trousers. Once again, Imano permeates the relationship between the mind, body and spirit of both the self and community in socially awkward yet amusing moments.