SADAMASA MOTONAGA (Japanese, 1922-2011)
SADAMASA MOTONAGA (Japanese, 1922-2011)


SADAMASA MOTONAGA (Japanese, 1922-2011)
signed and dated ‘S.Motonaga ‘94’ (lower right); signed, titled and dated in Japanese(on the stretcher)
acrylic on canvas
194 ×130 cm. (76 3/8 x 51 1/8 in.)
Executed in 1994
Private Collection, Asia
De Primi Fine Art, Lugano, Switzerland
Private Collection, Asia
Otani Memorial Art Museum, Motonaga Sadamasa, Nishinomiya City, Japan, 2002 (illustrated in black and white, plate 387, p.120)
Osaka, Japan, Takashimaya Department Store Gallery, Sadamasa Motonaga Solo Exhibition, 1996.
Osaka, Japan, Keihan Department Store Gallery, Sadamasa Motonaga, Waichi Tsukata and Shigeru Izumi, The Group Exhibition, 1996.
Matsusaka, Mie, Japan, Mie Prefectual Culture Hall, Solo Exhibition of Sadamasa Motonaga, 1997.
Kobe, Japan, Sanchika Hall, The Work of Sadamasa Motonaga, 1998.
Hamamatsu, Japan, Gallery Art Dune, The Tableaux of Sadamasa Motonaga, 1998.
Lugano, Switzerland, De Primi Fine Art SA, Sadamasa Motonaga, La felicità delle metamorfosi, 2015.

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Eric Chang
Eric Chang

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Lot Essay

In the 1980s, Motonaga began creating compositions by pouring and splattering paint on canvas in a manner reminiscent of earlier works from the 1960s. Green Shape (Lot 30), painted in 1994, is one such example of a return to this earlier method of creation, however just as he reinterpreted his Work (Water) installation in various forms, he has reimagined his earlier method of painting as well. Motonaga has superimposed a floating, glowing orb which appears hyper-flattened atop the depth of the celestial backdrop splattered with brightly colored paint. This form is rimmed in graduated green tones, recalling the spray-painted works of earlier decades. There it floats like an extraterrestrial, surrounded by twelve symbol-like appendages, lending it the appearance of an otherworldly zodiac calendar. This work is full of interesting propositions and a visual vocabulary similar to graffiti and cartoon art that is the most common motif in Motonaga's later works. This emphasis on two-dimensionality recalls traditional Japanese woodblock prints or ukiyo-e, “pictures of the floating world.” (Fig. 1)

Sadamasa Motonaga’s ability to continuously re-explore and reinvent his signature style of painting marks him as one of the most versatile artists of his generation. While he sought to reinterpret the foundation of his work many times over, there is a certain sense of harmony one can sense in considering his work over the span of his career.

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