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Tetsuya Ishida (1973-2005)
PROPERTY FROM THE ALESSANDRO GRASSI COLLECTION
Tetsuya Ishida (1973-2005)

Terremoto (earthquake)

Details
Tetsuya Ishida (1973-2005)
Terremoto (earthquake)
signed and inscribed in Japanese (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
45.5 x 53 cm.
Painted in 2003
Provenance
Le Case d'Arte, Milan.
Acquired from the above in 2004.
Literature
Kyuryudo Art Publishing Co., Ltd, Tetsuya Ishida - Complete, Tokyo 2010 (illustrated, plate 197, p. 143).

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Lisa Snijders
Lisa Snijders

Lot Essay

Terremoto (Earthquake) depicts a double portrait of a young boy. His face in the lower right corner ducks away under a school table, as if during an earthquake. Looking closer, it becomes clear that the face of the boy is a part of the larger scene of the upper half of the painting, namely a boy crouching under a table in a class room, while the teacher keeps on lecturing, undisturbed by anything.
The title refers to a common natural occurrence, since Japan is positioned over fault lines. At the same time, the title seems to have a more metaphorical meaning, referring to the pressures of social and academic demands in Japanese society with the related struggles to adapt to all these strains. Ishida has depicted a surreal scene, with the symbols of the ever growing influence of urban life on the right, taking over nature on the left. For Ishida, the city itself becomes a space of oppression as an outgrowth of the rapid economic and technological growth of Japan in the 1990s. Added to that, the fear of performing well academically adds to a gloomy vision for the world.
Confronting his inner psyche to reflect such contemporary tragedy, the overall atmosphere of his oeuvre is gloomed further with his painstaking rendering that unveils greater intensity of his depressive nature. The excessive orderliness of finely layered brushstrokes exhibits Ishida's intense mental absorption in painting. Almost in a ritualistic manner, the artist's persistent impulses are presented through his remarkable handling of the oil paint in depicting features of tempera paints. The thin semi-opaque paint strokes with numerous layered colours generate a deep colour saturation of the painting as a whole. This meticulous stacking of obsessive paint strokes enhances the form of the face to appear three-dimensional, triggering an illusion of depth for the viewer.
Ishida died at age 31, after having been hit by a train. This accident eerily reverberates the pessimistic world view of Ishida during his lifetime.

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