Tomoo Gokita - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale Hong Kong Sunday, November 25, 2018 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Deitch Projects, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    “Firstly, the fact is that the titles are just like jokes to me and not so important. It is a bit difficult to explain, but I think that the titles are a kind of extra throw-in attachment to the paintings, so to a certain extent I name them at random. Trusting my intuition, I decide on the titles as obediently and simply as possible depending on how I see and feel about the works.” (Tomoo Gokita quoted in Steven Cox, ‘Tomoo Gokita Interview’, Hunted Projects, 2014, online)

    Tomoo Gokita is an anomaly in the Japanese contemporary art world saturated with loud, neon colours and manga imagery. Working almost exclusively in monotone, his works ensnare their viewers into the underground subculture realms of abstraction, surrealism and film noir – subtle and magnetic.

    In Cheap Sensation, Gokita renders a female figure in a multi-layered A-line dress, a grey ‘V’ indicative of her cleavage. With structured layers and a string of pearls lining her waist, the figure is heavily inspired by the vintage film noir pin-up girl. This recognisable archetype acts as a visual anchor to the work, while the viewer attempts to process the billowing amorphous shapes that engulf her head, torso and parts of her dress. Though she has no face, no hands and no feet, the subject is still and poised, her outstretched arms recognisable up to the point where her hands morph into mere brushstrokes and shapes. The artist’s use of high contrast chiaroscuro conveys a substantial sense of heft to these organic forms; as a result, these bulbous shapes seem to sit on the figure as if they were meant to be part of her. Gokita's background in illustration comes through in his placement of the subject into a flat negative space, further emphasising the depth of tones in his composition. Using varying shades of grey and deliberate use of solid blacks and whites, the artist's skilled manipulation of shade and light is key in lending the work its sensuous, glowing atmosphere. Beautiful, whimsical yet somewhat simultaneously grotesque, the product of Gokita’s creative process seems to be all about this psychologically disquieting push-pull experience between his paintings and the viewer.

    The silent, dramatic quality of the work is highly seductive— the directness and structure in using a monochromatic palette a feast for the eyes. And yet it also draws a sense of unease through the viewers' inability to logically process the subject as a beautiful woman. Viewers end up getting caught in this ride of both pleasure and distaste, unable to move away. As the title suggests, perhaps this is what the artist dubs as a “Cheap Sensation”.


Cheap Sensation

signed, titled and dated '"CHEAP SESATION" (sic.) Tomoo Gokita, 2007' on the reverse
acrylic and gouache on canvas
116.6 x 116.5 cm. (45 7/8 x 45 7/8 in.)
Executed in 2007.

HK$500,000 - 700,000 

Sold for HK$2,250,000

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

Isaure de Viel Castel
Head of Department
+852 2318 2011

Charlotte Raybaud
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+852 2318 2026

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 26 November 2018