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Floating girl

Floating girl
oil on canvas
100 x 80 cm. (39 3/8 x 31 1/2 in.)
Painted in 2014
Sale room notice
Please note that the correct medium for Lot 549 is oil on wood panel.

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Lot Essay

Most known for his depictions of nurses and rabbits in an often unearthly manner, Masaru Shichinohe Floating Girl (Lot 549) presents to viewers a painting by Masaru Shichinohe, illustrating a floating girl wearing a rather gothic dress above a reclining chair with an apple atop, literal to its title. Inspired by the early 20th century Japanese fantasy novelist Inagaki Tairuho's writings, the Japanese contemporary artist unveils an uncanny ambience that shows an austere looking girl floating above a reclining chair - which could never have happened in reality. Such surreal environment as well as the idea of floating have recurred throughout Shichinohe's works such as his A Moment (2008), that portrays a girl sitting with an open book with a floating, leaping rabbit in front of her. Different to A Moment, which conveys a sense of movement and time, the floating girl in this painting appears to be completely emotionless, and her body floating in the air in a stationary position conveys a moment of suspense, perhaps indicating an illusionary notion of time.

Shichinohe has painted the background of his painting in a muted sepia tone, accentuating the subject matter and objects to take over the work, leaving it an endless and boundless reading for viewers to immerse themselves into this phantasmagorical world, to visualise and narrate stories from within. The composition of this painting consists of a floating girl, an apple and a reclining chair - all of which seemed to be a completely random combination. This seemingly arbitrary juxtaposition of these three components in Floating Girls is evocative of Belgian surrealist painter Ren? Magritte and Italian surrealist Giorgio de Chirico's works, of constructing dreamlike visions, yet in a metaphysical approach. Like Magritte, by placing such apparently unrelated yet recognisable objects together, Shichinohe seeks to address and explore the mystery of things and objects, whilst challenging our understandings of such objects when placed alongside one another. This leads viewers into their own imaginative thoughts, to be drawn into the obscure perspective and subject matter presented to them, while at the same time suggesting the visionary wonders of the artist.

Floating Girl is reminiscent of classical, Italian Renaissance paintings, however with a contemporary twist with the addition of fantastical imaginative elements that evoke an eerie feeling. The use of props is one of the stylistic traits adopted from Italian Renaissance masters, bringing Shichinohe's surrealist subjects closer to reality, emanating a sense of curiosity from viewers, leaving them fascinated and bewildered.

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