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    Sale 2605

    Asian Contemporary Art (Day Sale)

    25 May 2008, Hong Kong

  • Lot 690

    YOHEI WATANABE

    Price Realised  

    YOHEI WATANABE
    (BORN IN 1976)
    A GARDEN IN THE AIR & TOY
    SIGNED, TITLED AND DATED 'YOHEI WATANABE; A GARDEN IN THE AIR; TOY; 2004; 2006' IN JAPANESE (ON REVERSE)
    TWO OIL ON CANVAS MOUNTED ON BOARD
    130.8 X 162 CM. (51 1/2 X 63 3/4 IN.) & 51.5 X 73 CM. (20 1/4 X 28 3/4 IN.)
    PAINTED IN 2004 & 2006 (2)


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    SUSPENDED BETWEEN FANTASY AND REALITY, WATANABE'S WORKS PRODS THE VIEWER TO AWAKEN HIS OR HER CHILDLIKE IMAGINATION. PAINTING HIS CANVAS A WARM WHITE, THIS TABULA RASA INVITINGLY GLOWS AND ILLUMINATES AGAINST THE PAINTED MOTIF, HUMMING AS NEON LIGHTBULBS MIGHT. AS A CHILD FREELY DRAWS WITH CRAYONS AND TECHNICOLOURED MARKERS ON A PIECE OF PAPER, THE PAINTED MOTIFS OF WATANABE HANG AMBIGUOUSLY YET CENTRALLY ON HIS CANVAS. THE ARTIST STRIVES TO SURPASS THE PHYSICAL REPRESENTATION OF THE GARDEN OR AIRPLANE AND DEPICT THE EXPRESSION BEHIND THE INTERTWINED OBJECT AND HUMAN. WATANABE DRAWS UPON HIS MEMORY OF LANDSCAPES, COLOURS, DREAMS AND WISHES AND MANIFESTS THESE SURREAL YET FAMILIAR DREAMS INTO A SINGLE WHIRLWIND IMAGE. THOUGH SURREAL, HIS WORKS ARE ACCESSIBLE AS WE AS CHILDREN, ALL ONCE IMAGINED OURSELVES SOARING LIKE A PLANE OR LOST IN AN ENCHANTED FOREST.

    THE TREES OF A GARDEN IN THE AIR (LOT 690) ARE DELICATELY COMPOSED OF SPECKLED DOTS THAT SLOWLY ASSEMBLE IN FRONT OF OUR EYES AS THE DARK STREAMERS MEANDER AMONGST THE BRANCHES. DELICATE YET FORCEFUL, HER HAIR IS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE VIEWER'S ATTEMPTS TO GRASP THE ALMOST DISQUIETING EXPRESSION OF WATANABE. IN FIRE OF FOREST (LOT 691) A SIMILAR ETHEREAL LANDSCAPE IS DEPICTED WITH A BRIGHTLY COLOURED SNAKE MEANDERING AMONGST THE TRUNKS. THE SMALL CHILD LIGHTS A FIRE IN THE ODDLY CENTRALIZED DARKNESS WHOSE LIMITS ARE SEEMINGLY CONTROLLED BY THE ARCHED BODY OF THE SNAKE. SIMILARLY IN TOY (LOT 690), THE SPECTATOR MUST SPECULATE OVER THE WONDERS OF WATANABE'S IMAGINATION. THE VIEWER CONJURES OVER WHETHER THE BOY IS METAMORPHOSING INTO A TOY PLANE OR IF HIS IMAGINATION IS TAKING FLIGHT. HIS EMERALD GREEN EYES UNCONSCIOUSLY STARE INTO THE ABYSS, EQUALLY UNAWARE AND FASCINATED OF HIS SUBLIMINAL PHYSICAL OR MENTAL TRANSFORMATION AS WE ARE.