mixed media sculpture
130 x 380 x 92 cm. (51 1/8 x 149 5/8 x 36 1/4 in.)
Executed in 1994
Benesse House, Out of Bounds, Naoshima, Japan, 1994 (illustrated). Miyagi Prefectural Museum, Ironic Fantasy : Another World by Five Contemporary Artists, Sendai, Japan, 1996 (illustrated).
Naoshima-Kagawa, Japan, Benesse House, Out of Bounds, 15 September-27 November 1994.
Tokyo, Japan, Radi-um von Roentgenwerke AG, (previously R?ntgen Kunstinstitut), Methods of Dance, 6 June-16 July 1995.
Takamatsu, Japan, INAX Space Takamatsu, Gegeneinanderdrehen, 1995. Tokyo, Japan, Plaza Industry Ota, Philo-Tech, 1996.
Sendai, Japan, Miyagi Prefectural Museum, Ironic Fantasy: Another World by Five Contemporary Artists, 27 July-1 September 1996.
Tokyo, Japan, Radi-um von Roentgenwerke AG, Super B to the Future Project: PHAEDRUS, 4 -26 February, 2011.

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Felix Yip
Felix Yip

Lot Essay

Drawing inspiration from Robert M. Pirsig's philosophical novel Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Phaedrus, written by Plato in 400 B.C., Nakanowatari's bike has the following passage engraved in Braille: "This book has a lot to say about Ancient Greek perspectives and their meaning but there is one perspective it misses. That is their view of time. They saw the future as something that came upon them from behind their backs with the past receding away from their eyes. When you think about it, that's a more accurate metaphor than our present one. Who really can face the future?" (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert M. Pirsig)

Yasutaka Nakanowatari's altered motorcycle persuasively manifests the concept that time runs in reverse to our perception- the future is behind us as we cannot see or witness the events of the future and instead our past and its recollections stand before us. At great speeds, a motorbike rider's vision becomes more concentrated as though towards a specific event or destination. Yet the future, being so unpredictable should be represented by wider expanses and broader scope of vision behind us. Nakanowatari, an avid motorcyclist, thus mechanically re-engineered a Harley Davidson to only run backwards, ironically racing backwards towards our unknown future. Like the text by Plato which consisted of discussions of art and philosophy, Phaedrus (Lot 1482) is a powerful example of the conceptual artists in Japan in the mid-1990s, whose works strayed from 'classical' sculptures and paintings and posed and discussed conceptual ideas through alternative techniques and formats.

Phaedrus has been exhibited in several exhibitions including Benesse House in Naoshima, Japan (1994) and in the 'Ironic Fantasy - Another World by Five Contemporary Artists' exhibition at Migayi Prefectural Museum (1996) featuring fellow artists Takashi Murakami, Mariko Mori, Yoshitomo Nara and Chiezo Taro.

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