(Japanese, B. 1967)
Second Thought
mixed media and acrylic on canvas
79.5 x 99.5 cm. (31 1/4 x 39 1/4 in.)
Painted in 2008

Gallery Artside, Seoul, Korea
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Brought to you by

Eric Chang
Eric Chang

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Lot Essay

Our childhood and pre-teen memories and experiences are popular themes in contemporary Japanese art and are used by artists in a variety of media. Kobayashi's paintings of stuffed animals, integrate elements of Japanese art such as ukiyo-e (woodcut-printing), photography and animation, which are characterized by layered pictorial space, dynamics of action, sharp lines, and the multiplicity of commercial printing and allegories. Inspired by these diverse media, he has developed his own unique style to depict his representational figures. Taking a digital photograph of a figure, he manipulates the image in order to make a draft of a virtual story. Then, with the aid of computer software, he reduces and adjusts the colours into chromatic shapes, similar to a geographical map. Using the draft, he paints the images by pouring glossy fluid acrylic paint onto a prepared canvas. The photographic reality and allegory is re-codified as a painting that reflects his own production. By pouring the colour onto the canvas, the artist creates colourful stuffed animals, floating on a smooth, single-coloured surface. They protrude from the surface, retaining their volume not so much through perspective painting, but through thick layers of carefully applied acrylic paint, which gives them an almost three-dimensional character and builds a contrast to the surface, which can be seen as the empty space behind the embossed cast. At the same time, elements of a flat style, intrinsic to Japanese aesthetics, remain. Kobayashi uses mostly primary colours such as shades of blue, which give the figures a naïve simplicity that corresponds with his themes: a wistfully nostalgic feeling for the passing of childhood. His figures engage in simple, playful, slow-motion actions. Floating like balloons that escape the hands of children at play, they are fully material and never quite within our grasp. Like an illusion or a half-remembered dream, these floating figures are like toys abandoned and forgotten a long time ago. Only a sense of nostalgia remains.

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