Yoshitomo Nara (b. 1959)
Yoshitomo Nara (b. 1959)
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Yoshitomo Nara (b. 1959)

Untitled

Details
Yoshitomo Nara (b. 1959)
Untitled
signed in Japanese and dated ‘2007’ (on the reverse)
acrylic on canvas
162 x 145.5 cm. (42 3/4 x 30 1/8 in.)
Painted in 2007
Provenance
Galerie Zink, Munich, Germany
Anon. Sale, Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 3 April 2016, lot 1061
(Acquired from the above by the previous owner)
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
Literature
Melissa Chiu and Miwako Tezuka, Asia Society Museum, Yoshitomo Nara: Nobody's Fool, exh. cat. New York, USA, 2010
(illustrated, p. 178).
Yoshitomo Nara: The Complete Works 1984 - 2010, Bijutsu Shuppan Sha, Tokyo, Japan, 2011 (illustrated, p. 209).
Nara 48 Girls, Chikuma Shobo, Kyoto, Japan, 2011 (illustrated, unpaged).
Yoshitomo Nara: Self-selected Works, Paintings, Seigensha, Kyoto, Japan, 2015 (illustrated, p. 126).
Exhibited
Netherlands, The Hague, GEM, Museum of Contemporary Art, Yoshitomo Nara + Graf, June – October 2007.
UK, Gateshead, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Yoshitomo Nara + Graf A-Z Project, June - October 2008.
Iceland, Reykjavík Art Museum, The Curated Room in Iceland - Yoshitomo Nara + YNG, September 2009 - January 2010.
Special notice

On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial interest in lots consigned for sale which may include guaranteeing a minimum price or making an advance to the consignor that is secured solely by consigned property. This is such a lot. This indicates both in cases where Christie's holds the financial interest on its own, and in cases where Christie's has financed all or a part of such interest through a third party. Such third parties generally benefit financially if a guaranteed lot is sold successfully and may incur a loss if the sale is not successful.
Sale room notice
Please note Lot 53 has a guarantee fully or partially financed by a third-party who may be bidding on the lot and may receive a financing fee from Christie’s.
拍品編號53的最低出售價保證將由可能參與此拍賣品競投的第三方全部或部分提供,且該第三方可能會收到由佳士得支付的酬金。

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Jacky Ho (何善衡)
Jacky Ho (何善衡) Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

“They say human eyes are the mirror of the soul, and I used to draw them too carelessly. Say, to express the anger, I just drew some triangular eyes. I drew obviously-angry eyes, projected my anger there, and somehow released my pent-up emotions. About ten years ago, however, I became more interested in expressing complex feelings in a more complex way.”
Yoshitomo Nara

The figure’s mesmerizing big eye filled with a gleaming iridescence and myriad galaxies in Untitled illustrates his comment, “I became more interested in expressing complex feelings in a more complex way.” It exemplifies the important development from rather simply executed eyes in his previous period. Throughout the 1990s when establishing his signature children with the expressions of defiance and hubris on their faces, Nara primarily employed solid lines and simple colour fields to depict his subject’s body and face including eyes. From the early 2000s, his palette and lines have been softened to express “complex feelings” and to elaborate delicate ethereal depth in his subject’s eyes “in a more complex way” as this work presents.

In Untitled, a delicately painted, large-headed girl with one eye hidden by her hair evokes the mystery and questions: Why is she hiding one eye? Is she shy? Does she want to look eccentric? In this way, this magnificent painting becomes a bundle of intriguing paradoxes, from readily accessible yet enigmatic, to sweet yet menacing, and introspective yet superficial. Her mysterious atmosphere enchants viewers regardless their age or gender. “Rather than merely offering the work for the viewers to see face-on, I want to trigger their imaginations,” Nara once said of his ethos. “This way, each individual can see my work with his or her own unique, imaginative mind… Maybe an exhibition is not where I present my achievement but an experimental place where visitors find an opportunity to see themselves reflected as though my work were a mirror or a window”.

As Nara has emphasized the strong influence of his childhood upon his art, Untitled can be interpreted as a reflection of his inner self, whose inspiration taken from memory of his childhood. Nara grew up in Hirosaki, a rural village in the northernmost province in Japan. With working parents and far older siblings, he was naturally often left alone. To spend the time by himself, Nara would draw and paint every day, playing with animals around his house. In an interview, Nara stated “When you are a kid, you are too young to know you are lonely, sad, and upset… Now I know I was.” These deeply felt childhood experiences and the desire to reclaim childhood innocence have followed Nara into adulthood, manifesting in his unusual approach to figuration. The girl with galaxies in her eyes in the present work is nothing but a reflection of Nara’s life and personal experience, profound loneliness from his childhood, true love for music and literature, and his artistic exploration from old masters to modern art from Europe and Japan with the rigorous formal artistic training that he received in Japan and Germany.
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