KEY HIRAGA (Japanese, 1936-2000)
KEY HIRAGA (Japanese, 1936-2000)

To Where

KEY HIRAGA (Japanese, 1936-2000)
To Where
signed 'Key Hiraga' in English; dated '73' (lower left)
acrylic on canvas
89 x 117 cm. (35 x 46 1/8 in.)
Painted in 1973
Private Collection, Asia
Hiratsuka Museum of Art, The Exhibition of Kei Hiraga, Hiratsuka, Japan, 2000 (illustrated, p. 36).
Hiratsuka, Japan, Hiratsuka Museum of Art, The Exhibition of Kei Hiraga, 2 September-8 October 2000.

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Eric Chang
Eric Chang

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Lot Essay

Born in 1936 and educated in economics, once Key Hiraga gained his father's approval in the late 1950s to pursue an artistic career, he threw himself into artistic pursuits. Using the symbolic charisma of abstract expressions as a response to the concurrent artistic movements in Europe and America, Key Hiraga created a unique school of artistic style to call his own.
His palette exploded in color, rich with a mix of voyeuristic and anxious surrealism. To Where (Lot 122) draws upon the entertainment cultures prevalent in Japan; especially the modern era's geisha house. Six men are walking over a giant nude female body in blue. Lying on a table, the female entertain guests with sake drinking games. We are engulfed in a world of sexual fantasy, mischievously woven through the neon gender-biased figure's appendages to discover Key Hiraga's wondrous narrative. By placing six figures with same forms on a diagonal axis across our vision, he incorporates overlapping time frames and perspectives on one plane, creating compositional and narrative abstraction found in Western religious paintings, while suggesting instead a temporal multiplicity and the "floating world" life of ukiyo-e Japanese woodblock prints, facilitated by multilayered paint application of various tones and translucency.

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