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    Sale 2605

    Asian Contemporary Art (Day Sale)

    25 May 2008, Hong Kong

  • Lot 613


    Price Realised  


    (Born in 1979)
    Remembering What's Been Forgotten; A bit of Anxiety if I Can Call It That; I Was Waiting for You; Love Is Like the Measles & My Eyes are Your Eyes
    five gelatin silver prints
    61.3 x 51.5 cm. (24 x 20 in.) x 5 pieces
    edition 1/3
    Executed in 2006 (5)

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    Kazuna Taguchi provocatively probes the idea of perception between women themselves, and between the viewer and her paintings. Her works are inviting yet eerie as the painted figures seem to straddle reality and fantasy. Taguchi's acute insight of artistic mediums and observation has allowed her to blur the lines between abstract painting and photography. The silvery, monochromatic palette combined with the porcelain like smoothness of the figures' skin points towards the imagined existence of these women yet the fine strands of their hair and tangible clothing tell the viewer otherwise.

    Using a cyclical process to create her works, Taguchi first examines her subjects through the lens of a camera and proceeds to paint her portraits from a photo montage of developed photographs. Though her true subject is the woman, she takes a two dimensional representation of a three dimensional object only to flatten it again. We can imagine that the painted women were once ordinary citizens of society, varied in bodily proportions and imperfect in their beauty. Yet once photographed, painted and re-photographed, the resulting image no longer resembles the original as it is under the artist's discretion to alter and improve the 'look' of the model. The process is reminiscent of the transformation of a human model to a clothing mannequin. The product of a such multi-layered procedure is a slow yet steady distancing from authenticity, to a more abstract approach to painting and societal, gender concerns.

    In today's society where the standards of what constitutes a beautiful woman is dictated by fashion magazines and celebrities, each woman inherently becomes a critic of her self and other women. Whether tranquil, frightened, defensive or pensive, each of Taguchi's 'portraits' deliberately forces the viewer to compare them to the printed image of women found in magazines and newspapers. Though every fold, crease and contour is distinguished, its realism is deceptive as we are reminded that these multi-faceted women are mere images and subject to the viewers' scrutiny and evaluation.

    Similarly, the subjects of Taguchi's works deliberate on self-awareness as a woman. She does not look sexual or seductive as if to advertise a consumer product, but meditative over the provocative questions of the painter: how do you think you look right now; what happened to you as a woman; are you real? Each figure's reaction is captured in the photograph Taguchi took. Indeed, the monotonous palette of the works and make the print comparable to a still from a 1910's black and white movie, wherein emotion presents itself physically and is inaudible.

    Taguchi presents each portrait before a wavering fabric, much resembling the backdrop used for photo shoots for magazines or a blue-screen in movies. As customary in portrait photography, the women adopt an overall upright triangular form. The pinnacle, her eyes are the pictorial representation of the titles given by the artist. In both My eyes are your eyes (lot 613) and I was waiting for you (lot 613), the bold stare of the women are foreboding and fierce, making the women look independent. However after reading the title, their look can be interpreted as defenseless and defeated; their existence in that moment seems affected by a previous incident. Similarly, A bit of anxiety- if I can call it that (lot 613)and Remembering what's been forgotten (lot 613) portray confusion and trauma through the icy gaze of their eyes. Even Love is like the measles (lot 613)shows a woman longing for her lover, the corner of her lip curls upwards as if laughing at the absurdity of love.

    Taking into account the life size print, evident human emotion and two dimensionality of the work, the works constantly juggle these fictional and non-fictional elements. Having to decipher the medium of the work alone is complex, let alone the insightful perspective into the individual's seemingly real life experiences. Taguchi successfully blends the medium of several disciplines with such precision that even the authenticity of subjects' expressions can be questioned


    Hiroshima, Japan, Hiroshim City Museum of Contemporary Art, Absent Portrait - Kazuna Taguchi's solo exhibition, August 1 - September 18, 2006.