Miwa Komatsu - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in association with Yongle Hong Kong Tuesday, November 29, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Miwa Komatsu is a Japanese artist born in Nagano in 1984. She is best known for her depictions of mystical “Divine Spirits”—fantastical creatures that dwell within the artist’s heart and through which she manifests her unique spiritual universe into visual forms. A classic amongst these creatures is the ferocious and majestic guardian—lion dog, illustrated by "Un" Guardian Lion Dogs Evolved Form that presents a potent visual feast, exuding a strong presence with its full composition of vibrant hues, tempestuous stokes and rich textures.

    “I do not sketch or do any prep work. I attempt to get to the visions that are behind the artwork, praying and meditating every morning is part of my method. It is similar to fixing on canvas images of things dropping down from heaven into my head. They could be kind of coded in a way, I decode them by turning them into art and symbols.”
    — Miwa Komatsu

    First unveiled in Taipei at Whitestone Gallery during Komatsu’s solo exhibition titled MIWA KOMATSU: Spiritual Guardians (2 December 2017 – 7 January 2018), the powerful canvas depicts a fierce lion dog staring straight at the viewer with its large and intensely glowing neon eyes. Its enormous and long body is visually condensed into a frontal representation in layers of the artist’s signature thin, dense and highly fluid strokes, burning with majesty and vigour as it reveals from its mouth an amulet evoking the element of fire. A red bunny in the lower left clings to the beast, with its body rendered in dense, winding short strokes reminiscent of the three-dimensional textural qualities of embroidery. Komatsu’s dazzling fluid lines impart such a vivid fluidity and intense texture to the canvas, animating the subject as if it is constantly in motion.


    The artist’s characteristically dynamic composition owes largely to the methods behind Komatsu’s painting process, which is very performative as the gestures of the artist’s paintbrush transmit through her entire body, as she moves around her canvas as if following the steps of an interpretive dance. Following this quick, confident approach, Komatsu applies thickly deposited paint to her canvas to create undulating textures that explodes from the centre of the pieces, imparting a sculptural quality that nods to the artist’s background in copperplate engraving.



    The artist live painting on 30 March 2019 at Pacific Place, Hong Kong

    Komatsu’s otherworldly creations are rooted in her close relationship with nature, interest in Japanese mythology, and the wider spiritual themes of mortality and legendary beings, all reflect in her paintings, as she draws from these concepts to present her unique perspective on the harmonies of pure living and the cycles of life.


    Komatsu’s work has been widely exhibited in Asia, Europe, and America. Her ever-growing presence in the international art sphere is made evident by her popularity amongst private collectors and institutions such as the British Museum and World Trade Centre. In 2015, Komatsu’s Arita porcelain work, titled Guardian Lion Dog: Heaven and Earth was displayed at Chelsea Flower Show, and was subsequently included in the permanent collection of the British Museum, making her the youngest artist in their permanent collection at the time.


    Since 2021, Komatsu started focusing on contemporary environmental issues as she was appointed an ambassador of goodwill by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan that same year. Her latest exhibition—Transparent Chaos: Spirituality and Mandala was recently held at Taro Okamoto Museum of Art, Kawasaki from 25 June – 28 August 2022, and Spirituality and Mandala at Zenkoji Mae Tatehonzon Gokaichō Memorial Zenkoji History Museum from 25 March - 20 June 2022.

    • Provenance

      Whitestone Gallery, Taipei
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Taipei, Whitestone Gallery, Spiritual Guardians – Miwa Komatsu Solo Exhibition, 2 December 2017 – 7 January 2018


"Un" Guardian Lion Dogs Evolved Form

inscribed and dated 'Terra Battle 2 [in Katakana] Kowy 1 2017 Kowy 1' on the reverse
acrylic on panel
162 x 130.5 cm. (63 3/4 x 51 3/8 in.)
Painted in 2017, this work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity issued by Whitestone Gallery.

Full Cataloguing

HK$500,000 - 700,000 

Sold for HK$693,000

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+852 2318 2027

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in association with Yongle

Hong Kong Auction 30 November 2022