Auction | China Guardian (HK) Auctions Co., Ltd.
2019 Spring Auctions
Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art

Mitsuru Watanabe (b. 1953)
Naoko’s Sky

Oil on canvas

38 × 45.5cm. 15 x 17 7/8 in.

Titled and signed in Japanese on the reverse
Private Collection, Asia

This work is accompanied with a painted frame made by the artist

The Multi-Dimensional Narrative of Mitsuru Watanabe
In the world of imagination, everything is accessible and nothing is forbidden. I observe other painter’s image from a landscape painter’s point of view and play with those images.
— Mitsuru Watanabe
Mitsuru Watanabe, born in Aomori Prefecture, Japan in 1953, often employs famous Western paintings as the background of his works, in front of which he turns a Japanese girl into the protagonist to re-interpret the original. The work, Naoko’s Sky, based on La Reconnaissance Infinie, a painting created in 1963 by the famous surrealist artist René Magritte, is such a representative of Watanabe. Magritte reminds us of the limitations of our existing cognition through his surrealist sceneries. Based on Magritte’s work, Watanabe makes the little girl the protagonist and visualizes her mind space through the background which is the original painting, breaking the audience’s established cognition of the original work and setting off the infinite narrative dimension of his painting.
The work explores the audience’s perception of artistic creation through a multi-layered space. At the first layer, two bowler-hatted men, the iconic image of Magritte, are talking in the air on the background. At the second layer, the girl Naoko is observing the previous layer. She looks steadily at the audience, forcing the viewers to look back at her existence. Her upward-pointing finger indicates that she is the observer of the painting behind her, and the two men free from the gravity belong to her imagination and cognitive world. She also reminds the audience that since these images are from her mind space, in turn the audiences are breaking into her imaginary world, hence becoming part of her story. The artist blends the multi-dimensional reality and imagining space into this work, consistent with the title of Magritte’s original painting, The Infinite Recognition.
In this painting, there is not only the two men breaking through gravitation and traveling through the surrealist space, but also the girl’s imagination journey in Magritte’s painting; not only the viewers observing the girl, the men and themselves in the infinite dimension created by Watanabe, but also Watanabe himself looking back at us through the girl’s gaze. The multi-dimensional time and space condense into the painting, in front of which the viewer linger with their thoughts.

Price estimate:
HKD: 50,000 - 70,000
USD: 6,400 - 9,000

Auction Result:
HKD: --



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