(Japanese, 1973-2005)
acrylic on canvas
130 x 145 cm. (51 1/4 x 57 1/2 in.)
Painted circa 2001
Kyuryudo Art Publishing Co., Tetsuya Ishida Posthumous Works, Tokyo, Japan, 2006 (Illustrated, p. 13).

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Felix Yip
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Lot Essay

Tetsuya Ishida's works reveal the artist's very distinct view of contemporary social life in urban Japan. His surreal landscapes and interiors, often tinged with a certain darkness, depict human beings transformed into part-machines, animals, or buildings, and underscore the banality of contemporary life, the experiences of dissociation and anxiety, while challenging the notion of the self, function and role of human beings in changing cityscapes.
Painted in 2001, untitled (Lot 2418) is a stark scene in which even the most basic space for privacy becomes invaded by commercialization, technology and homogeneity. A series of near-identical businessmen each sit on a washing machine-looking fixture with their pants down, holding a note bill in their hands, in door-less lavatory stalls separated by nothing but glass panes. Their muted expressions suggest that they are unbothered by the lack of privacy, their sober gazes unoffended by the repulsive sanitation and ugliness under the cold, fluorescent light. This unsettling vision suggests to the viewer a silent cry of the desperation beneath their banal acceptance of their surroundings, a complete loss of purpose and of the self. Here, the transparency of the walls between each individual only accentuates their isolation, and the mechanical functions of the body render it as a vessel of empty existence. Ishida's haunting images express a sense of solitude and identity crisis in contemporary Japan, heavily imbued with the artist's skepticism of the culture of excess that has developed alongside the rapid economic and technological growth of Japan in the 1990s, reinforcing an entrapment of self within the regimented life in the city.

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