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Auris Externa
titled and dated ‘“Auris Externa” '08’, signed with artist’s signature (on the reverse); inscribed ‘F20’ (on the stretcher)
acrylic and gouache on canvas
73 x 60.8 cm. (28 3/4 x 23 7/8 in.)
Painted in 2008
Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
Private Collection, Asia (acquired directly from the above by the present owner)

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Sylvia Cheung
Sylvia Cheung

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Lot Essay

Japanese artist Tomoo Gokita's striking grayscale geometric paintings have become instantly recognizable. Precisely achieved with acrylic and gouache in a highly contrasted gradation of black and white retaining the palette of pencil, his choices recall his background in graphic illustration. Gokita had already developed an international reputation as a master draftsman, particularly in charcoal, before making the move to canvas painting.

The enigmatic title Auris Externa meaning "external ear" in Latin calls to mind Gokita's bemusing thoughts:
"The picture is in motion from the moment the eye turns into an ear. For whom? For what? I don't know. I wait for "silliness" which lurks behind a kind of fermented unconscious, such as the act of eating a picture or putting a paintbrush in one's ear"

By painting non-representational geometric shapes and strokes, the artist playfully explores the range of possibilities that arise from varying shades of black and white.

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