Yoshitomo Nara - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in Association with Poly Auction Hong Kong Thursday, December 3, 2020 | Phillips

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  • "I was forging my own mental connections between the music and visual art…I’d create my own translations of the lyrics in a way that had nothing to do with the English language, while I transformed the jacket image in my mind, kind of like imagining a music video." —Yoshitomo Nara

    The iconic works of cult artist Yoshitomo Nara, one of the leaders of Japan’s influential Neo Pop movement, evoke the paradoxical joys and woes of childhood. The youngest child of working parents, Nara experienced an intensely lonely childhood with only his imagination, comic books and family pets for company. His artistic alter egos, adorable yet complex little children possessing a startling emotional intensity, emerged in his work after a period of acute solitude in Germany led Nara back to a profound sense of alienation and the resurfacing of old feelings not experienced since his childhood. The luminous, almost comical faces of Nara’s subjects betray a spirit of mutinous, childlike defiance; at other moments they emanate a distinctly adolescent melancholy.
    "Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
    Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky" —Tambourine Man

    I’m ready to go anywhere, I’m ready to fade away takes its title from the lyrics of Bob Dylan’s folk song ‘Tambourine Man’ (click to listen on Spotify). The narrator asks the Tambourine Man to play a song and, under his spell, the singer is taken on a magical trip through a poetic landscape, ‘far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow / yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky’. Snapping her fingers, Nara’s little girl dances beneath her eternal ‘diamond sky’, the exclamation mark and bold, graphic outlines declaring an emphatic victory over Nara’s childhood demons.


    The tondo-esque form of I’m ready to go anywhere, I’m ready to fade away brings to mind Nara’s statement that “There is no necessity of having corners” in art. The ceramic medium also holds special significance for Nara, with clay bringing back memories of his first artistic experience in childhood. Indeed, when confronted with a creative block at a later point in his life, he would turn to sculpture rather than painting: ‘I couldn’t make pictures on a blank canvas, but I found I could confront a mass of clay...I wouldn’t think about it with my mind. I would just attack it, like in sumo, with my body.’ i


    Installation view, Yoshitomo Nara at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, 2010

    i Yoshitomo Nara, quoted in Edan Corkill, ‘Yoshitomo Nara puts the heart back in art’, The Japan Times, 20 July 2012, online.

    • Provenance

      Private Collection
      SBI Art Auction Co., Tokyo, 25 February 2012, lot 81
      Private Collection
      Christie's, Hong Kong, 25 May 2014, lot 559
      Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      New York, Asia Society Museum, Yoshitomo Nara: Nobody's Fool, 9 September 2010 - 2 June 2011

    • Literature

      Noriko Miyamura and Shinko Suzuki, eds., Yoshitomo Nara: The Complete Works Volume 1: Paintings, Sculptures, Editions, Photographs 1984-2010, Tokyo, 2011, no. C-2007-028, p. 296 (illustrated)


I'm Ready to Go Anywhere, I'm Ready to Fade Away

hand-painted ceramic plate
83 x 83 x 7 cm. (32 5/8 x 32 5/8 x 2 3/4 in.)
Executed in 2007.

Full Cataloguing

HK$1,600,000 - 2,600,000 

Sold for HK$2,898,000

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Associate Specialist, Head of Day Sale

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in Association with Poly Auction

Hong Kong Auction 4 December 2020