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(Born in 1977)
signed and titled 'Hiroyuki Aoyama; Sukiyaki' in Japanese (on reverse) oil on canvas
182 x 227.5 cm. (71 5/8 x 89 1/2 in.)
Painted in 2001

Lot Essay

The inexorable overflow of pictorial elements overtone layers of globalization, consumerism and urbanization of the world. These modern factors are recapitulated with more caricature-like than blithely cartoonish figures in large dimensions to overwhelm spectators with irresistible child-like charm. Combining a variety of themes, the artist reinforces an impression of obscure and incoherent fragments of the real world. Aoyama seems conceptually nonchalant with his projection of cheerful colors and whimsical environments, but the artist shrewdly packs sarcastic humor to indicate the over development of economy and technology, by contrasting it, among others, with a bygone reality of a Japan that does no longer exist.

The artist indicates that the positive effects of consumerism are short-lived and that it provides a way for people to feel connected to wider global meanings. The sarcastic irony of the development of technology has shaped our environments to be globally identical. In Hanaharu (Lot 644), Aoyama overwhelms us with his powerful images, energy and unexpected details. In the center of the painting, a young Japanese man surfs on his futuristic surfboard. Proudly presenting his new cell phone like a trophy of revelation, he is oblivious to his surroundings. Below the surfer, is a long row of what seems to be the columns of a temple. Between the pillars the endless reflection of a toothless old man with thick, black-framed glasses reveals his helpless grin. On the other side a row of smiling women, dressed in bright colored, traditional kimonos walk over an old Japanese bridge. Surprisingly, they wear modern Burberry scarfs around their necks. Painted against a bright red and orange sky, a huge wave devours a canvas of an old blossoming cherry tree. A volcano explodes in the background, while behind him a maliciously grinning girl is holding up two fingers to indicate the V sign.

The cross breeding of west and east, the global commonality caused by technological development worldwide, is deceptively presented in Aoyama's Sukiyaki (Lot 643). Mocking the race of global technological advancement, in his painting, baby astronauts float in space, cute little bunnies fly fighter jets, while young Japanese man in yellow shirts chase each other on a long, flying red carpet. In the front of the scene, an older astronaut victoriously waves a red and white flag, in which the colors of the Japanese flag are inverted.

In Sakura, (Lot 645) Japanese cultural entities such as kimonos, gardens of blossoming cherry trees and the element of water are all painted with vivacious colors and in erratic scales. Surrounded by naked Japanese babies, the young women's bright smile indicates the peak of amusement and liberation. The traditional elements of the painting stand in sharp contrast to the pouring wave of colourful sugar-coated candy, representing the deabetes-plagued consumerism of the west.

The globalization of modern Japan is stereotypically synchronized with attributes of the East and the West, the traditional and the modern. However, the excess scale of the painting only appears desperate for attention and the compelled smile of the characters in all three works reflect a disoriented helplessness of a generation in search of its identity.

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