(Born in 1973)
Glass Princess & Camellia Sasanqua
two oil on canvas
52.5 x 45 cm. (21 x 18 in.) x 2 pieces
Painted in 2007 (2)

Lot Essay

Ryoji Suzuki's tasteful awareness of the materials he employs is highly evident in his ability to control the tonal gradient and his use of texture. Although Suzuki renders the flesh of his figures with great realism the figures themselves are mysteriously amphibian looking. His figures straddle reality and fairy tales and are a product of Suzuki's psychological struggles. Suzuki is an extremely autobiographical painter who approaches painting in a way to portray his immediate feelings and cravings. The artist exploits the range of colors according to his psychological state; a process which he notes is an entirely unconscious decision. Aware that it is a manifestation of his subconscious, the viewer is able to dissect every element of his painting and attempts to relate it to childhood legends and the audience's personal experiences.

The dark and damp setting of his figures resemble a remote and isolated cell where the subjects sit. Because there is such minimal contextual information, the viewer must recollect storybooks previously read while focusing on the gestures and motifs as suggested by the title of the paintings, to decipher the story behind the artist's brush. In Glass princess (lot 608), we find a figure gently holding a glass bubble over her head. She does not tell us how she feels but solicits us to examine her psychological response to being encased behind a partition. Whether she is a mermaid, Cinderella or a completely imaginary character is at the viewer's discretion.

The beady eyes in all three works Glass Princess, Underwear (lot 609) and Camellia sasanqua (Lot 608) undoubtedly correspond, and as Suzuki states that people who have similar interests have similar appearances, it is not surprising that this is so. Irrespective of the narrative differences, all the eyes are clear and round, outlined with a simple circular contour. The encased figure in Camellia sasanqua is in a parallel universe with Glass princess. The magnolia blossoms perched upon her head resemble a crown thus making her comparable to the princess in the other painting. The three quarter position of her head also conjures up a Renaissance seated portrait. Most exemplary of synonymous people are the figures in Underwear whose posture and facial expressions are interchangeable. Patiently waiting, these three figures are totally unaware of time passing as their unblinking eyes remain entranced. These figures not only respect each other but seek a sense of security within each other. As we the viewers look onto them, they too watch us and imagine what intrigue we find in them.

The surreal quality of Suzuki's brushwork and compositions points towards a precisely fabricated world yet we are reminded by the artist that these paintings do not take shape from careful composition and thought but are a manifestation of Suzuki's smooth streaming subconscious from one canvas to another.

More from Asian Contemporary Art (Day Sale)

View All
View All