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NATSUKO TANIGUCHI (Born in 1968) Playing Children acrylic on gesso, mounted on panel 156 x 309 cm. (61 1/2 x 121 1/2 in.) Painted in 2002

Lot Essay

Drawing influence from several different generations of artists, Natsuko Taniguchi amalgamates religious altarpiece format with 19th Century Pointillism to create surreal works in Playing Children. Taniguchi toys with a triptych format common in Italian Renaissance paintings, an art form again referred to in the leaf covered genitals of the children. Additionally, each third of the painting has its own sequence of events where children play with a sacred torii, playfully clamber over a roof or sit on a model train. The infinitely fine brushwork of a saturated and repetitive palette is reminiscent of both aboriginal and Pointillist paintings, only more intricate and strange.
The initial response towards these wide-eyed children is their physical resemblance to tribal, exotic art. Seemingly boneless, these children come across as wholly fabricated in the artist's mind. Even the multiple perspective and surreal landscape enables the viewer to delve deep into his or her imagination and craft a unique narrative to pair with this painting. Though oddly formed, such renditions of children are not uncommon in Japanese cartoons and children's books and are often friendly and easily accepted by children. Taniguchi's unique depiction is reminder of the infinitely fantastic imagination of Japanese artists who effectively capture both fantasy and their cultural heritage in their artwork.

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