Not Now

Create your first list.

A way to share and manage lots.

  • Provenance

    Blum & Poe Gallery, Los Angeles
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Literature

    Noriko Miyamura and Shinko Suzuki, eds., Yoshitomo Nara: the Complete Works, Volume 2: Works on Paper 1984-2010, Tokyo, 2011, no. D-2003-024, p. 201 (illustrated)
    Yoshitomo Nara, The Little Star Dweller, Taiwan, 2004, n.p. (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Executed in 2003, Not Now is one of the largest works on paper by renowned and internationally-acclaimed artist Yoshitomo Nara. Having gained widespread recognition in the academic, critical and commercial branches of the art world, Nara is not only a key player in defining of contemporary Japanese art, but his work also crosses cultural boundaries. Among his countless exhibitions in his native Japan and worldwide, Nara was recently honored with a major retrospective show in 2017 at the Toyota Municipal Museum of Art in Japan featuring works from 1987 to the present. In the tradition of Nara’s celebrated oeuvre, the present lot integrates simplified forms with the artist’s devotion to detail.

    With a near translucent effect, the present lot is a remarkably layered work depicting a large solitary figure rendered in rich orange, ochre and beige tones against a deep maroon backdrop. Nara explains, “I guess I have a fondness for things in danger of being thrown out, for the little objects that reside at the edge of my field of vision. I don’t want to overlook these things because, even in their solitariness, they make up what we know of the world” (Yoshitomo Nara, Yoshitomo Nara: Self-Selected Works—Works on Paper, Seigensha: Kyoto, 2015, p. 151.) As a result of the cartoon-like aesthetic of Nara’s renowned body of works, viewers often misunderstand the influence of manga and anime on the artist’s process. Furthermore, his work is commonly misinterpreted as being purely part of the Japanese new Pop movement. Yet the artist claims that the picture books he read as a child has had a greater influence on his work, asserting that they would “tell many stories with one picture… this kind of system, of narratives emerging from a single picture” (Yoshitomo Nara, Yoshitomo Nara: Nobody’s Fool, Asia Society Museum/Abrams: New York, 2010, p. 175). Therefore, unlike the reductive imagery of manga, anime, or new Pop, Nara aims to render narrative while dismantling the transience of time through art.

    Though Nara is known for his portrayals of cartoonish children and animals, Not Now represents a recent shift in the artist’s attention towards more contemplative sensibilities within his work. In the place of vulnerable, angry and rebellious doll-like or puppy figures wielding guitars or knives, Not Now illustrates an independent figure gazing off into the distance, appearing uninterested in or perhaps even disappointed with the reality around her. In contrast to the quick reactive expressions of Nara’s earlier works, the protagonist of Not Now is emotionally detached from her surroundings, demonstrating a position of resolution and control. Nuances in the figure’s composure and emotive capabilities point to developments towards more spiritual and philosophical considerations in Nara’s work.

    Similar to Daydreamer, another monumental work on paper executed in the same year as the present lot, Not Now is indicative of a change of pace in Nara’s working style. “Before I’d paint as far as my physical stamina lasted and finished a work in a day,” says the artist (Yoshitomo Nara, Yoshitomo Nara: Nobody’s Fool, p. 182). In recent years, Nara has gone on to claim that “there’s a lot more conversation that I have with the image… That’s really me having a conversation with myself. It allows me to draw out parts of myself that I’m not even aware are there” (Yoshitomo Nara with Robert Ayers, “I Was Really Unthinking Before,” ARTnews, April 14, 2017). Not Now not only exposes the private thinking space of the artist, this work also draws out the viewer’s sensibility to colour and the human condition - provoking self-reflection and contemplation within its audience. In response to whether his new works demonstrate the wisdom of old age, Nara simply says, “There’s really no way the younger me could have made this work” (Ibid).

  • Catalogue Essay


    本作的畫面帶著近似透明的朦朧感。藝術家用飽滿的橙色、褐色和灰棕色調,精心鋪墊出碩大的單一人物,其身後以深褐紅色為背景。奈良解釋:「我對一些隨時有可能被剔除的事物比較有興趣,尤其是那些在我的視線邊緣的小物件。我不希望錯過了這些東西,因為即使它們如此孤單,也是我們所知世界的一部分」(奈良美智,《奈良美智:自選作品—紙本類》,青幻舎,京都,2015年,151頁)。奈良美智的作品以卡通風格人物而為人所知,觀眾因此經常誤會這些都是漫畫和動畫對藝術家的影響所致。此外,奈良美智的作品常被錯誤地理解為純屬日本新普普藝術運動的一部分。對於這些看法,藝術家自言童年時所看過的圖畫書對他的創作影響更深,他說它們「用一張圖畫述說許多故事… 這種敘事體系源於單一幅圖畫」(奈良美智,《奈良美智: 沒有人是傻瓜》,亞洲協會博物館/Abrams 出版:紐約,2010年,175頁)。因此,奈良美智的創作與動漫或新普普藝術的簡化影像不一樣,他的目標是通過藝術訴說故事,同時化解時間的短暫本質。


    《不是現在》與另一幅同年創作的大型紙本作品《白日夢》皆預示奈良美智的創作風格變化。他自言:「在此之前,我會耗盡體力一直繪畫,一日內可以完成一幅」(奈良美智,《奈良美智: 沒有人是傻瓜》,182頁)。近年,奈良美智已宣稱:「我與畫中人物的對話越來越多… 其實也是在與自己對話,這樣我就可以將我本人都沒有察覺其存在的自己繪畫出來」(奈良美智與羅伯特‧艾耶斯訪談,< 我之前真的在放空>,《藝術新聞》,2017年4月14日)。《不是現在》不僅將藝術家的私人思考空間暴露於人前,亦牽引出觀者對色彩和人類心理狀況的感應,從而教人自省和沉思。奈良美智曾被問及新作品是否流露出久經閱歷的智慧,他只答道:「年輕時的我不可能創造出這幅作品」(同上)。

Select Language




Property of an Important American Collector

Not Now

pastel, acrylic and coloured pencil on paper
134.6 x 119.4 cm. (52 7/8 x 47 in.)
Executed in 2003.

HK$6,000,000 - 8,000,000 

sold for HK$7,300,000

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 26 November 2017