Daydreamer

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  • Provenance

    Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
    Private Collection, USA
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    St Louis, Contemporary Art Museum, Yoshitomo Nara: Nothing Ever Happens, 3 December 2004 - 26 February 2005
    Aspen, Aspen Art Museum, Having New Eyes, 7 February - 16 April 2006

  • Literature

    Yoshitomo Nara: the Complete Works, Volume 2: Works on Paper 1984 - 2010, Bijutsu Shuppansha, Tokyo, 2011, cat. rais. no. D-2003-014, p. 200

  • Catalogue Essay

    Daydreamer is the largest work on paper by Yoshitomo Nara to appear at auction in recent years. Nara is one of the most celebrated Japanese contemporary artists, whose works have been included in exhibitions and collections of prominent art museums across the globe. An iconic image encompassing the entire composition with her tremendously large head, abbreviated body and mesmerizing doting eyes, the young figure drawn against a simple pastel background in Daydreamer impresses onto the viewer a sensation of extreme cuteness (kawaii). Consistent with Nara’s famous portraits, this drawing appears reductive and straight-forward at first glance, borrowing the flatness and cartoon-like aesthetic of manga and anime. However, the enormous size of this work illuminates Nara’s masterful technical skill in rendering the tiny yet crucial details of the work such as the mathematically precise white dots lining the gorgeous moss-colored irises and the elegant eyelashes shaped by a few flickers of the pencil. The artist explains, 'People say you have a big influence from Japanese animation. No, I have a big influence from my childhood' (Nara in 'Punk Art,' Giant Robot, USA, no. 20:26). In addition to Japanese comics and television, Nara claims that the Japanese countryside- the isolation it imposed and imagination it cultivated - also played a key role in his artistic development.

    Nara is known for integrating the multifaceted and even contradictory qualities inherent in children—their being at once naïve and precocious, complicated yet carefree, sweet though wicked. Perhaps the rock ‘n’ roll music Nara plays as he fervently paints in his studio manifests in the defiant attitudes of these figures. ‘On the surface, Nara’s kids appear uncomplicated, even bored at times, yet one doesn’t have to look far to uncover the layers of mischief and emotion bubbling beneath—it’s as if the harder you look, the more these children seem to know and the more you have to learn. Through the faces of his subjects, Nara invites us to linger, to leave the rules at the door and enter the more fluid and uninhibited world of children. While many of his contemporaries embrace the escapism afforded by the futuristic fantasy and play of anime, Nara does not retreat entirely into the make-believe. Rather, he provides a conduit to another world—a world hopefully still within reach— through the immediacy and directness of children’ (Kristin Chambers, ‘A Visit to Naraland,’ Nothing Ever Happens, Cleveland, 2003, p. 28).

    Daydreamer, however, introduces a curious spin on the artist’s iconic style. Instead of the typically angry upturned eyes or blank doll-like stare, this drawing depicts a relatively calm figure who gazes gently but nevertheless relentlessly at the viewer. Along with her subtle smile (or smirk), this young child, shrouded in mystery, possesses a certain control over the viewer making all other Nara figures seem predictable in comparison. Ambiguity obfuscates her peacefulness as '…it is often more haunting and evocative to consider what is suppressed, what might lie beneath the social mask we are compelled to wear. It is the disquiet that speaks to us and with which we connect' (Ibid, p. 30). Daydreamer engages directly with the viewer, compelling them not only to help resolve the incomplete narrative space, but also to contemplate the many dualities of adulthood, embracing the fact that evil is an essential part of innocence. 'My work contains a lot of guilty memories that remind me of how bad I’ve been. I frequently get letters from people who tell me that my paintings show them their own inner darkness' (Yoshitomo Nara, quoted in Midori Matsui, 'Interview with Yoshitomo Nara, Yoshitomo Nara: Nobody’s Fool, New York, 2001, p. 62).

  • Catalogue Essay

    《白日夢》是拍賣界近年來有見最大尺寸的奈良美智紙本作品。奈良美智是當今最知名的日本當代藝術家之一,其作品曾在世界各地展出,各大知名美術館爭相把其作品納入收藏。《白日夢》中的小女孩很具代表性,她偌大的腦袋幾乎佔滿整個畫面,身體短小,水汪汪的雙眼尤其動人,在簡單的粉彩背景前撲面襲來她的極致可愛。此作品展現了奈良美智肖像畫的一貫風格,看似簡單直白,有著漫畫和動畫的平面感和卡通造型。但畫幅碩大的尺寸又讓我們可以仔細觀察到他在細節的處理,突顯其精湛技藝。苔蘚綠色虹膜裡的白色小點精準無誤,輕輕幾筆鉛筆線則帶出優雅的眼睫毛。藝術家本人解釋道:「人們說日本動畫帶給我很多影響,其實不然,是我的童年帶給我很多影響」(奈良美智,〈Punk Art〉,《Giant Robot》,第20:26號)。除了日本漫畫和電視文化,奈良美智曾提起日本的郊外,尤其是它形成的隔離感和引發的想象,對其藝術發展起到重要作用。

    奈良美智總會在作品中把小孩內在的多面性甚至對立面表現出來,他們既天真亦早熟,複雜卻無憂,時而甜美,時而淘氣。奈良美智在畫室投入作畫時播放的搖滾音樂或許也為他筆下角色增添了一種反抗的態度。「表面看來,奈良美智筆下的小孩單純無邪,有時甚至顯得頗為無聊,但只要稍微留神,就會發現從內浮現出來的頑皮氣和各種情感,好像你越仔細看,這些小孩就知道得越多,你就有更多信息要吸收。奈良美智通過筆下角色邀請觀者留在畫前,把規矩留在門外,走進小孩無拘無束的暢快世界。同期許多藝術家選擇以未來主義幻想和動漫形式來逃避現實社會,但奈良美智沒有完全退入虛幻,他提供了一條通往另一個世界的道路,希望透過孩子的率直純真,我們還能找回那個世界」(Kristin Chambers,〈A Visit to Naraland〉,《Nothing Ever Happens》,克里夫蘭,2003年,第28頁)

    《白日夢》在奈良美智標誌性風格的基礎上,作出了一些巧妙的小變化。往常畫中的小孩總是生氣地眼角上挑或者目無表情注視前方,但此畫中的女孩相對平靜,而溫柔注視觀者的目光依然無甚表情,淺淺一笑(還是假笑?),籠罩著一股神秘氣息,觀者似乎也受她掌控,這讓她表面的平靜顯得模棱兩可,「… 很多時候,社會令我們被迫帶上面具,而藏在面具底下被壓抑的情感才是最難忘、最有故事的,就是那焦慮讓我們感同身受」(同上,第30頁)。《白日夢》直接走入觀者心裡,不僅驅使他們解開畫面未道明的敘述,也令人反思成年人的各種矛盾,接納純真中不可避免的邪惡。「我的作品包括許多讓我內疚的回憶,提醒我自己曾經很壞。我時常收到別人來信,說我的畫讓他們看到自己內心的黑暗面」(松井碧,〈奈良美智訪談〉,《Yoshitomo Nara: Nobody’s Fool》,紐約,第62頁。

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Ο ◆4

Property of an Important Asian Collector

Daydreamer

2003
pastel, acrylic and colour pencil on paper
156.5 x 136.5 cm (61 5/8 x 53 3/4 in.)
Executed in 2003, this work is accompanied by a certifcate of authenticity issued by Rabbit Hills.

Estimate
HK$5,000,000 - 7,000,000 
€602,000-843,000
$641,000-897,000

sold for HK$12,080,000

Contact Specialist
Jonathan Crockett
Deputy Chairman, Asia and Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Asia
+852 2318 2023

Sandy Ma
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+852 2318 2025

General Enquiries
+852 2318 2000

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 27 November 2016