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TOKUHIRO KAWAI (Born in 1971) Full Colour Reading - Coloured in Brier signed 'Tokuhiro' in English (lower right) oil on canvas 30.5 x 161 cm. (12 x 63 3/8 in.) Painted in 2007

Lot Essay

Floral, decorative and based on fantasy, Kawai's paintings draw the viewer into a world full of optimism and beauty. Full Colour Reading-Coloured in Brier (Lot 467) is not only the depiction of the fairytale Sleeping Beauty but a painting laced with intricate motifs. The love story of how a maiden doomed for eternity, awoken by a man of integrity, a true heart and love, it one for Romantics. Kawai suggests that this girl reading the book never believed in the possibility of love in the cool pewter shade oils he used to render the young girl on the left of the canvas. Her own world was only shades black and white and only through the story of Sleeping Beauty and the thorns of the briers did she become aware of the colourful vibration of love, as gestured by the tight clutch she holds over the book on the right end of the canvas. Parallel to the growth of the briers and the protagonist's faith in love, is the gradual saturation of the artist's palette.

Kawai remains faithful to the classical elements such as rendition, lighting and decor found in children's book illustrations; her hair glistens, the clouds are like cotton and the brocade dress shimmers as if directly out of a young girl's fantasy. The interchangeability of the protagonist and sleeping beauty is as intentioned by Kawai, provoking the viewer to wonder whether one story could change his or her outlook on life as well. The smooth brushwork of Kawai only emphasizes the theatricality of both the story and perhaps today's Japan where fantasy and reality is closely related. Kawai inadvertently comments on the obsession and admiration of the Japanese for a surreal, romantic world in the length of his canvas.

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