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Yoshitomo Nara

Estimate: HK$20,000,000 - HK$30,000,000
ca. US$2,568,280 - US$3,852,420
Price realised:  HK$21,680,000
ca. US$2,784,015
Lot number 11, Views: 114

11 Property of an Important Private Collector Yoshitomo Nara Last Warrior / The Unknown Soldier 《最後的戰士 / 無名士兵》 2000 signed, titled and dated '"LAST WARRIOR / THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER" Nara [in Japanese] 2000' on the reverse acrylic on canvas 165 x 150 cm (64 7/8 x 59 in.) Painted in 2000, this work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity issued by Rabbit Hills.
Description This lot is a Premium Lot that will not be available for online bidding. Prospective buyers who wish to bid on Premium Lots must complete the pre-registration form and pay the Premium Lot deposit, as described more fully in Paragraph 1 of Phillips' Guide for Prospective Buyers. In order to arrange a bid on this work, please contact [email protected] for further information. Provenance Tomio Koyama Galleries, Tokyo Frahm Ltd., London Red Dot Ltd., New York Museum Works Galleries, Aspen Acquired from the above by the present owner Exhibited London, Frahm Ltd., In Your Face, 3 February - 21 March 2003 Literature Yoshitomo Nara Lullaby Supermarket, exh. cat., Institut für Kunst Nürnberg, Nürnberg, 2002, p. 164 and p. 199 (illustrated) Yoshitomo Nara The Complete Works Volume 1: Paintings, Sculptures, Editions, Photographs 1984 – 2010, Tokyo, 2011, no. P-2000-018, p. 168 (illustrated) Catalogue Essay 'Fortunately nowadays it’s no longer forbidden to be into kitsch and kid’s stuff, and only people who want to be “very” grown up can’t relate to such things’ (Yoshitomo Nara quoted in Stephan Trescher, 'My Superficiality Is Only a Game: A Conversation between Stephan Trescher and Yoshitomo Nara', pp. 103-07, Yoshitomo Nara Lullaby Supermarket,, Institut für Kunst Nürnberg, Nürnberg, 2002, p. 105). The girl in Yoshitomo Nara’s Last Warrior / The Unknown Soldier gazes at us with a fixed, determined stare that belies her age. The cutesy charm of this doll-like figure is undercut by the downturned mouth, the pursed lips, the clenched fist and the frowning eyes, which fix us to the spot. She has been shown at an angle that emphasises the act of a child looking up—and in this case, confronting her audience. With this steely attitude, the girl well deserves her title of Last Warrior. She also clearly deserves her place within the extensive cast of bellicose youths who have become so iconic in Nara’s work, leading to his becoming one of the most celebrated Japanese artists of our age. Dating from 2000, this picture perfectly demonstrates the intoxicating allure of Nara’s paintings, and his subjects. This is a subversive sweetness, tapping into the kima-kawaii wave that had emerged in the 1990s, shortly before Last Warrior / The Unknown Soldier was painted. Kima-kawaii is cuteness with an edge, often with a hint of either ugliness or, as here, violence. In Last Warrior / The Unknown Soldier, it simmers beneath the surface, percolating through the girl’s rigid glare. Last Warrior / The Unknown Soldier was painted at a pivotal point in Nara’s career, when his engaging paintings of subversively adult children were garnering him increasing international attention and acclaim. Only the previous year, his images had been used for a book by the celebrated author Banana Yoshimoto, as well as on album covers. In 2000, he was granted his first one-man show at an American museum, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. It was also in 2000 that Nara moved away from Cologne in Germany, which had been his base since 1988. Nara’s time studying and then teaching art in Germany—in Western Europe, rather than Japan—is evident in the sheer craft and skill that have gone into making Last Warrior / The Unknown Soldier, as a closer inspection of its surface will attest. While the visual language of Nara’s paintings mimics anime, manga and children’s illustrations, explaining why he is so often associated with Japanese Neo Pop, Last Warrior / The Unknown Soldier and many of its sister-pictures are painstakingly created using layers of oil on canvas in techniques that echo those of the Old Masters and 20th-century painters. The essentially monochrome background of Last Warrior / The Unknown Soldier is deliberately made to resemble a sheet of paper left in reserve, or a page, the figure floating against it. At the same time, it fills the picture with a luminosity that recalls some European frescoes painted in tempera on plaster. T

Informations about the auction
Auction house: Phillips
Title: 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale
Date of the auction: 28 May 2017
Address: Phillips
Hong Kong