(B. 1966)
Flying Trapeze
acrylic and gold leaf on wood board
152 x 57.5 cm. (59 7/8 x 22 5/8 in.)
Painted in 1989
Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner
Ashiki Hori, Gakken Col., Ltd., Works of Tenmyouya Hisashi "Japanese Spirit", Tokyo, Japan, 2003 (illustrated, p. 70).
Kawade Shobo Shinsha, Tenmyouya Hisashi, Japan, 2006 (illustrated, pp. 112 & 146).

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Lot Essay

Reiterating the vertical Kakemono scrolls of the Edo-period, Hisashi Tenmyouya's Flying Trapeze (Lot 1522) demonstrates the fine balance of human power and nature in a striking and provocative manner. Here, he devises a paranormal ambiance of a rooster, sitting high upon the clouds with a burning acrobat performing a flying trapeze. An otherwise frightening image is counterbalanced by the elegant and composed posture of the performer, evoking an image of awe as this death defying act demonstrates concentration to a point of meditation, an act mirrored by the delicate and painstaking details of the painting itself. Flying Trapeze inhabits an uncanny underworld shaped with burning contrast of electrified pink and crisp white, hostile to the black milieu, a reminder of Tenmyouya's eclectic intermix of tradition and contemporary. Perhaps to further the notion of sacredness, Tenmyouya decisively injected illumination through direct contrast of hue and contour to craft a surreal metaphor of the tackles of the dark realities of contemporary pressure. The rooster, elevated in symbolism, commands the comparable supremacy of the sun - a spirit that epitomizes pride, courage, strength, vigilance and flamboyance in Japanese culture - it serves as a moral fortitude. The silhouette of the gracefully raging fire visually emulates the crown of the rooster, wherein the physical curvatures of both the subjects emanate a likeness. This painting is a fine example of Tenmyouya's effectiveness in intertwining neo-nihonga, Japanese spiritualism with a contemporary outlook has marked him as one of the pre-eminent contemporary Japanese artists of today.

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