Yoshitomo Nara - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale Hong Kong Saturday, November 25, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Blum & Poe Gallery, Los Angeles
    Private Collection
    Sotheby's, New York, 13 May 2004, lot 309
    Private Collection
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Literature

    Noriko Miyamura and Shinko Suzuki, eds., Yoshitomo Nara: The Complete Works Volume 1: Paintings, Sculptures, Editions, Photographs 1984-2010, Tokyo, 2011, no. P-1995-044, p. 123 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Painted in 1995, Remember Your Childhood Days is a relatively early work by the artist Yoshitomo Nara that depicts a ginger-haired cherub in a moment of quiet. The protagonist of the work does not accost the viewer, nor does she cast a side eye in mischief, but instead she looks within. Eyes closed, she seems to be reflecting on a simpler time – the innocuous cocoon of nostalgia. While many works in Nara’s oeuvre underline the innocence of childhood with rebellious undertones, this work considers the pure desire for happiness and solitude.

    The work is striking and almost childlike in its simplicity and honesty – a cherubic young toddler wearing a swimming cap, submerged mid-waist in water against a soft pastel background. The child’s state of oblivion towards her audience suggests that she is perhaps escaping into her psyche to remember, to contemplate or to enjoy a moment in time. According to the artist, “the overwhelming solitude of those moments turns into pleasure” (Nara in It Comes in the Dead of Night – Midnight Thinker, 2017). It is in this moment of introspection that Nara invites us to investigate beyond the surface of the painting. What is intriguing is that the canvas itself bears a hidden image. Beneath the primary paint layer bears a shadow, palimpsest image, revealed only under ultra-violet light –a painting of a ‘slanted-eyed’ girl, typical of Nara’s earlier period works, with bold marker-esque black outline of the figures. This earlier work is now hidden beneath what is now Remember Your Childhood Days, suggesting that Nara painted over an earlier work, in favour of an image-and-text approach to the composition, likened to posters and billboards. Brilliantly illustrating Nara’s stylistic development, the intrinsic history of the work is amplified by a textual reminder to look back at our own early history.

    When taken with its bold proclamation - ‘Yr Childhood’ printed in plain words beneath the child in question - the work’s title Remember Your Childhood Days becomes an imperative for its audience to confront childhood in all its bygone, nostalgic glory. We are confronted by the message to return to nascent, or our true child-like selves, poised by childhood’s very own talisman - the child at the centre of the work itself.

Property of an Important Asian Collector


Remember Your Childhood Days

signed, titled and dated '"remember Your childhood days" Nara [in Japanese] '95' on the reverse
acrylic on canvas
55.3 x 40.6 cm (21 3/4 x 15 7/8 in.)
Painted in 1995.

HK$1,500,000 - 2,500,000 

Sold for HK$2,000,000

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

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+852 2318 2000

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 26 November 2017