3 More
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A EUROPEAN COLLECTION

Such a Perfect Day

Such a Perfect Day
signed, titled and dated 'Javier Calleja SUCH A PERFECT DAY 2020' (on the turnover edge)
acrylic on canvas
98 1/2 x 76 3/4in. (250.2 x 200.1cm.)
Painted in 2020
Bill Brady Gallery, Miami.
ArtLife, Miami.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
S. Bogojev, ‘Sooner or Later: Javier Calleja @ Bill Brady, Miami’, in Juxtapoz, 25 September 2020 (illustrated in colour).
Miami, Bill Brady Gallery, Javier Calleja, Sooner or Later, 2020.
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent. This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

Brought to you by

Claudia Schürch
Claudia Schürch Senior Specialist, Interim Head of Department

Lot Essay

Spanning more than two metres in height, Such a Perfect Day is a monumental work by the Spanish artist Javier Calleja. Against a blue backdrop, his wide-eyed protagonist beams out at the viewer, the work’s title inscribed on his t-shirt. His exaggerated hair and features are instantly recognisable, epitomising the whimsical, graphic language that has propelled Calleja to prominence over the past decade. Conceived as extensions of himself, Calleja’s cast of boyish characters capture a complex range of emotions. Here, as in many of his works, his subject’s eyes glisten with water, as though a smile has just broken through after crying. Painted in 2020, Such a Perfect Day belongs to a group of works completed and exhibited following the first COVID-19 lockdown. While many reflected a sense of instability and uncertainty, the present work is full of hope and optimism, its subject gleaming like a beacon against a cloudless sky.

Born and based in Málaga, Calleja is currently the subject of his largest solo show to date at the city’s Centro Cultural Fundacion Unicaja. Over the years he has exhibited widely throughout Europe, America and Asia, cultivating a practice that spans painting, drawing, sculpture and installation. His works invite comparison with the those of Yoshitomo Nara, whose insouciant, childlike figures were an important influence. Elsewhere, he has drawn inspiration from the works of artists including Philip Guston, Alex Katz, Mark Rothko and Rene Magritte: the present work, with its caricatured mop of hair, conjures fleeting echoes of the latter’s floating clouds. Calleja also reads widely, often incorporating fragments of literary text into his subjects’ t-shirts. Many draw upon the work of Samuel Beckett; others are derived from snippets of overheard conversation, or the artist’s own imagination.

Calleja has explained that ‘every character is a little bit of a self-portrait’: they are, in effect, his ‘children’. Deliberately simplified, and deeply anti-conceptual, they are emblems of carefree, youthful freedom, capturing an age that, for Calleja, was ‘the happiest time in my life’. Yet while his works share something of the ‘kawaii’ (‘cute’) aesthetic espoused by Nara, Takashi Murakami and others, their clean, flat features and repetitive forms ultimately become vehicles for exploring deeper emotional registers. ‘With these simple characters, only a pair of eyes and one T-shirt, I can talk about everything’, he explains. ‘I can be critical, empathic, happy’ (J. Calleja, quoted in S. Bogojev, ‘Javier Calleja: Finding That Magic Moment’, Juxtapoz). Humour, irony, rebellion, tenderness and pathos swim within their glistening eyes, drawing the viewer deeper into Calleja’s interior world.

More from 20th/21st Century: London Evening Sale

View All
View All