1068
1068

PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION

Nara Yoshitomo
READY TO SCOUT
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LOT SOLD. 19,320,000 HKD
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1068

PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION

Nara Yoshitomo
READY TO SCOUT
Estimate
Premium Lots
In order to bid on "Premium Lots" you must complete the required Premium Lot preregistration application and deliver to Sotheby's such necessary financial references, guarantees, deposits and/ or such other security as Sotheby's may in its absolute discretion require, as security for your bid. Sotheby's decision whether to accept any pre-registration application shall be final. We recommend you contact Sotheby's at least 3 working days prior to the relevant sale in order to process the pre-registration, and please bear in mind that we are unable to obtain financial references over weekends or public holidays. If all lots in the catalogue are "Premium Lots", a Special Notice will be included to this effect and the paddle symbol will not be used.
Irrevocable Bids
Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
15,000,00020,000,000
LOT SOLD. 19,320,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

|
Hong Kong

Nara Yoshitomo
B. 1959
READY TO SCOUT
signed in Japanese and dated 27. Jan 2001 on the reverse
acrylic on cotton mounted on FRP
177.8 (diameter) by 25.4 cm; 70 (diameter) by 10 in.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Stephen Friedman Gallery, London
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Exhibited

Japan, Yokohama Museum of Art; Ashiya City Museum of Art & History; Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art; Hokkaido Asahikawa Museum of Art; Hirosaki, Yoshii Brick Brewhouse, Nara Yoshitomo: I Don't Mind, If You Forget Me., 2001 - 2002, p. 68, illustrated in colour
USA, Ohio, Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland; Pennsylvania, University of Pennsylvania, Institute of Contemporary Art; California, San Jose Museum of Art; Missouri, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis; Hawaii, The Contemporary Museum, Yoshitomo Nara: Nothing Ever Happens, 2003 - 2005, pp. 77-79, illustrated in colour

Literature

Birth and Present: A Studio Portrait of Yoshitomo Nara, Gingko Press Inc., California, USA, 2003, p. 15, illustrated in colour
The Little Star Dweller, Rockin' On, Tokyo, Japan, 2004, p. 138, illustrated in colour
Yoshitomo Nara: The Complete Works 1984 – 2010
, Volume I, Bijutsu Shuppan Sha, Tokyo, Japan, 2011, p. 178, illustrated in colour
Yoshitomo Nara: The Complete BT Archives 1991-2013, Bijutsu Shuppan Sha, Tokyo, Japan, 2013, p. 58, illustrated in colour

Catalogue Note

Although it is physically impossible to go back to the past, I discovered that as long as I preserve the emotions that I originally felt, nothing is lost. From this point of view, returning to the beginning is very positive. 

Nara Yoshitomo




Iconic, captivating and grand in scale, Nara Yoshitomo’s Ready to Scout is an exemplary illustration of Nara’s universally resonant oeuvre rendered in a rounded tondo-esque composition. First conceived in the 1990s when the artist resided in Germany, Nara’s conceptualization of a scowling little girl set against a plain monochrome background became a perfected paradigm by the early 2000s, reflecting the disaffection of Japanese youth and capturing the imagination and adoration of viewers worldwide. In the present work, the combination of Nara’s intricately constructed patchwork and delicate Renaissance-esque brushwork along the surface of the fiberglass disk typifies the artist’s mature 2000s aesthetic, culminating in a striking portrayal of a fearless little girl itching to explore, encounter and challenge the unknown. With penetrating eyes, she glares defiantly outwards as she prepares to climb out of a hole, as if gearing herself up to conquer the world. Insolent, slightly wicked yet ultimately adorable, Ready to Scout captures the fascinating tension between childhood and adolescence, innocence and mischievousness, whilst extending the lineages of Pop, figurative painting and classical portraiture into the 21st century.

Born in 1959 in Hirosaki in the Aomori Prefecture, Nara was born to emotionally distant workaholic parents in post-war Japan and grew up as the youngest of three sons by a drastic age difference. As a result, Nara’s childhood was for the most part spent alone, and his formative years were marked by intense feelings of isolation. Such sentiments were echoed in Nara’s adult years in the 1990s when the artist spent five years studying in Dusseldorf, Germany. During this time, the solitude of Nara’s first experience living overseas not only made him recall the loneliness of his childhood; it also, as the artist writes, enabled him to restore a proper “sense of my true self” that he had almost forgotten because of his sense of “being watched by other people” while living in Japan (the artist quoted in exh. cat. Nara Yoshitomo: a bit like you and me..., Japan, 2012, p. 129).

Parallel to this personal growth was an important artistic development that profoundly shaped the course of Nara’s career. During his time in Germany, the artist immersed himself in Western art history and viewed classical masterpieces in the flesh. One of the most important influences cited by the artist is the pre-Renaissance Italian painter Giotto; and indeed, upon careful and considered examination, intriguing parallels can be found. Stephan Trescher observes: first, both artists engaged in distorting shifts in pictorial space and scale: Giotto in background landscape, Nara within the individual figure. Second, both artists rendered space-engendering figures against flat backgrounds, a style that effected directness and simplicity. Thirdly, the fine surface work in both artists’ paintings constitute an uncanny plastic presence: as Trescher writes, just as “Giotto’s figures always remain oddly nonphysical [with] enormous plasticity […] the equivalent can be found in [Nara’s] undifferentiated children’s bodies […] which have such a presence in the space” (Stephan Trescher, “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog”, in Yoshitomo Nara: Lullaby Supermarket, Michael Zink Gallery, Munich, 2002, p. 12).

Upon Nara’s homecoming to Japan in 2000, one year prior to the creation of the present work, the artist’s style evinced subtle technical maturations – a disintegration of sharp lines into nuanced, meticulous and poetic brushwork, and a warming of his palette with pastel colours. In the present work, the surface texture comprises multiple layers of translucent colours and a multitude of intricate tones, which imbues the otherwise flat composition with an enigmatic sense of depth. The enchanting figure of the little girl itself is reflective of various facets of Japanese visual culture: the comics and graphic novels of manga and its video form, anime. Whilst also reminiscent of Pop and exuding an undeniable Lichtenstein-esque vibe, the artist’s reductive figurations draw also on Modernism’s sign-like shorthand language of images as well as traditional Japanese forms; as Trescher writes, “[…] the full-body portrait in front of a neutral background, the relationship between figure and the picture plane, the image-object and the empty surrounding space […] the blurring of the boundary between printmaking and painting – all can be found in Nara’s art as well as in coloured prints from the 18th and 19th centuries by Hiroshige, Hokusai or Utamaro” (Ibid, p. 11).

The rounded form of the present work, which is reminiscent of Renaissance tondo paintings, is also worth noting; commenting on his round paintings, the artist once said: “There is no necessity of having corners”. A Renaissance term for a circular work of art, the word tondo derives from the Italian rotondo, or ‘round’; created since Greek antiquity, tondi (plural of tondo) was revived in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in Italy. Historically, tondi featured enclosed scenes, with the circular composition serving to focus the viewer’s attention on the central characters. The background scene in a tondo is either simplified or omitted altogether – a stylistic strategy that is echoed in Nara’s modus operandi. By synthesizing diverse sources from different traditions and different eras of art history, Nara’s oeuvre operates simultaneously as a universal emotional vehicle through which viewers excavate childhood memories, and a powerful entry point into a re-evaluation of the canon of figurative painting, representation, and storytelling through art.

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

|
Hong Kong