(B. 1959)
signed 'macalou' in English (lower right); signed 'masaru shichinohe' in English; dated '2000.12.8' (on the reverse)
acrylic on board
36.4 x 72.5 cm. (14 3/8 x 28 1/2 in.)
Painted in 2000
Private Collection, Japan
Parol sha, Masaru Shichinohe, Campanella, Tokyo, Japan, 2000 (illustrated, cover and unpaged).
Ping Art Space, Masaru Shichinohe: Black Angel, Taipei, Taiwan, 2010 (illustrated, pp. 166-167; detail illustrated, unpaged).
Tokyo, Japan, Aoki Gallery, Masaru Shichinohe, 9-21 April 2001.

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Felix Yip
Felix Yip

Lot Essay

Masaru Shichinohe's complex combination of motifs and modern inventions produces surreal works where endless narratives can be created, and the viewer visually transported through all rationality and brought to a world of imagination and curiosity. In creating works of often diminutive and obscure shapes, Shichinohe's unique cropped composition and suggestive use of props are stylistic traits adopted from Italian Renaissance masters, each employed brilliantly to bring his surrealist subject steps closer to reality. Repeatedly featuring a young male or female in his oeuvre, Shichinohe effectively links each work together like chapters in a story, each time drawing the viewer into a visual twilight zone between reality and fiction.

This is beautifully captured in Gramophone (Lot 1520), a shonen in red dreamily sit listening to the crow-gramophone. To his side a mesmerized companion emerges; perhaps he is a surreal manifestation of his dreams of mingling amid animals in an infinite lush field. Shichinohe's attentive rendering of the blazer's buttons, the delicate flowers buds and glossy feathers of the crow heighten the realism of the work while simultaneously elevating the dream like impression by presenting the protagonist and his subconscious on even spatial planes and focus. Featured on the cover of his book Campenella (little bell), this music themed work perhaps is most representative of his shonen works, and certainly one of the first images of the shonen in his representative form today. Similarly the memorable girl of Shichinohe's oeuvre re-appears in Ribbon (Lot 1521), seemingly caught in a world of warped time. Here, Shichinohe once again plays with the element of time, slowing it down infinitely in this scene where the girl struggles to raise her hands to capture the gliding butterfly. Seating her in a velvet draped room with checkerboard tiles further facilitates the idea of illusion and hidden secrets.

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