1071
1071
Nara Yoshitomo
DRAWING FOR ARGENTINE HAG (SET OF FIFTEEN)
Estimate
4,000,0006,000,000
JUMP TO LOT
1071
Nara Yoshitomo
DRAWING FOR ARGENTINE HAG (SET OF FIFTEEN)
Estimate
4,000,0006,000,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

|
Hong Kong

Nara Yoshitomo
B. 1959
DRAWING FOR ARGENTINE HAG (SET OF FIFTEEN)
(i) signed in Japanese and dated 2002 on the reverse
mixed media on paper
dimensions variable
largest: 34.3 by 36.3 cm; 13½ by 14¼ in.
smallest: 17.5 by 20 cm; 6⅞ by 7⅞ in.
Executed in 2002
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo
Private Collection
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 5 April 2013, lot 817
Private Collection
Acquired from the above by the present owner

This work is accompanied with a certificate of authenticity issued by Tomio Koyama Gallery
Note: The images of this lot are used as the cover and illustrations in the novel Argentine Hag by Yoshimoto Banana

Exhibited

Japan, Tokyo, Hara Museum of Contemporary Art; Fukui, Kanaz Forest of Creation; Yonago City Museum of Art; Hirosaki, Yoshii Brick Brewhouse; Korea, Seoul, Rodin Gallery, Yoshitomo Nara: From the Depth of My Drawer, August 2004 - August 2005 (travelling exhibition)
Japan, Yokohama Museum of Art, Works by Nara Yoshitomo, 21 January - 20 March 2011

Literature

Yoshitomo Nara: The Complete Works 1984 – 2010, Volume II, Bijutsu Shuppan Sha, Tokyo, Japan, 2011, p. 182, illustrated in colour

Catalogue Note

But here in the Argentine Building, I could remember those days as much as I wanted until tears moistened my eyes.

From Argentine Hag by Yoshimoto Banana 

There is a need for storytelling before I paint. There should be someone to talk to. But because such a person is not there in our life, that’s why we need to paint.

Nara Yoshitomo


Drawing for Argentine Hag (set of fifteen) arose out of the third and very special cultural encounter between Japanese writer Yoshimoto Banana and superstar contemporary artist Nara Yoshitomo. Yoshimoto's novel Argentine Hag is one of only two of the writer’s novels translated into English at the time, and the limited edition bilingual text (translated into English by Sawa Fumiya) is accompanied by an extensive series of illustrations and photographs created by Nara. It is the most elaborate artistic collaboration between the two, as the book contains accompanying illustrations or photographs on every few pages. The original set of drawings by Nara for Argentine Hag are collected here, rendering this lot a very rare and special collection of Nara works on paper – an intuitive emotional and artistic response to the work of another artist and a personal reflection on poignant universal themes such as death, grief, empathy for the estranged and (both childhood and adult) loneliness. Yoshimoto's tender story, at once heart-wrenching and heart-warming, finds perfect resonance in Nara’s iconic and era-defining aesthetic – one whose sugary sweet innocent exteriors never fails to draw out deeper universal existential meditations from viewers around the world.

In Yoshimoto's story, the heroine Mitsuko is a teenage high-school girl in a rural town. Shortly after Mitsuko’s mother dies, her father Satoru disappears to live with another woman – the quirky and eccentric Yuri, whom the local kids nicknamed “Argentine Hag” because she was of Japanese-Argentine heritage and used to teach Spanish and tango lessons. Through living with Yuri, Satoro gradually heals from the loss of his wife and finds new meaning and carefree inspiration in life as a sculptor. In parallel, Yuri transforms from a “hag” living in a decaying building into an exotic and spiritually uplifting mythical figure. At first, Mitsuko is bitterly angry and resentful that her father abandoned her as well as his duties as a grieving widower; eventually, however, the girl gets to know Yuri better and gradually comes to terms with her father’s life and choices, ultimately regaining in some way the lost unity of her family.

The limited edition novel Argentine Hag is hard-bound in a luxurious sparkly silver cover and comes encased in a silver box slip. Throughout the book, Nara’s illustrations and photographs are thoughtfully interspersed with the text, at times responding directly to certain passages and scenes, at other times offering up unexpected thought-provoking wonders that prompt new associations and revelations. A reviewer remarked: “The artwork and design of this book is quite wonderful, making nearly every page a small surprise” (Eric Hinkle, taken from goodreads.com, accessed August 2018); while a blogger commented: “The story is worthy of the presentation, and the presentation enhances the story. The design of the book is very careful in this regard to make sure that the images match up with the text; colored type and colored paper are also employed to give you the feeling that each page is its own world, its own new experience” (taken from sgttanuki.blogspot.com, accessed August 2018).

The present lot is thus an exquisitely enchanting fusion of art and literature that represents a sublime reverberation of sentiment and spirit. Both artist and novelist are profoundly concerned with the acute estrangement of childhood as well as its extended effects into adulthood, and in their image and text, powerfully address the audience’s own impressionable childhood experiences and core defining memories. Yoshimoto and Nara articulate, in parallel, divergent yet resonant and instantly evocative languages of poignant vulnerability, loneliness, pain and healing, proclaiming personal and universal feelings of nostalgia, melancholy and hopeful idealism. And while Nara’s style on canvas evolved progressively and systematically throughout the years, his drawings on paper have always retained an undiminished freshness, encompassing styles, genres and motifs from all periods. Moreover, when compared to his canvas works, Nara’s works on paper evince a much more narrative approach, with his lively pencil lines experimenting freely with light, shadow, stillness and movement, lightly tracing out precious stories or extended pathways of his imagination. Rarely does Nara create cohesive and extended sets of works on paper; created in 2002 for a specific collaboration with Yoshimoto, Drawing for Argentine Hag is a rare collectible that is simultaneously deeply personal and highly representative of artist’s entire epochal career.

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

|
Hong Kong