Lot  038 Ravenel Autumn Auction 2023

Ravenel Autumn Auction 2023

One Two Three Like White Light is Out

Sadamasa MOTONAGA (Japanese, 1922 - 2011)


Synthetic resin paint, acrylic on canvas

60.6 x 72.7 cm


TWD 650,000-950,000

HKD 159,000-232,000

USD 20,300-29,700

CNY 148,000-217,000

Sold Price

TWD 680,000

HKD 168,734

USD 21,608

CNY 154,545


Signed lower right S. Motonaga and dated ‘93
Signed Sanadamasa Motonaga, dated 1993 in Kanji and titled stretcher bar One Two Three Like White Light is Out in Japanese
This lot is accompanied with a certificate of authenticity issued by Motonaga Archive Research Institution Ltd., Hyogo, Japan. Registration No: #F(94)-93


In 1955, Motonaga Sadamasa was formally invited by Haruyoshi Yoshimura to join the Japanese contemporary art group "Gutai Bijutsu Kyokai" (Gutai). The following year, he created the outdoor installation artwork "Water," which exemplified the experimental nature of his early works, combining performance art and installation pieces. It also proclaimed his creative spirit that was closely intertwined with nature.

Motonaga’s unique "drip-style" painting technique, using thick and textured pigments, allowed gravity to guide the flow of amorphous abstract shapes. It wasn't until his visit to the United States in the late 1960s, where he was inspired by Post-Painterly Abstraction, that Sadamasa Motonaga created an entirely new style. In Motonaga Sadamasa's paintings, a common technique involves a blend of spray paint. Against an all-black background, the primary visual consists of an upward-extending bean-shaped (oval) image occupying the center. This image is endowed with rich and vibrant gradient tones, sculpting smooth and well-defined surfaces, and has become a representative symbol of Motonaga Sadamasa's artworks, repeatedly created until the 2000s.

The lot "One Two Three Like White Light is out " is an extension of this theme from 1993. It features three mountain-shaped protrusions, resembling buds or fungi growing upwards from the base. The semi-circular tops closely resemble the instant when a tungsten filament lamp melts and the light goes out, leaving a lingering afterglow of brilliant white light in the viewer's eye, just as darkness quickly envelops the scene. The layout of the artwork follows a thorough rational consideration, while maintaining a space of imaginative vitality through "organic form shaping," which is truly remarkable. It is evident that in his later years, Sadamasa Motonaga no longer engaged in specific artistic movements, yet he continued to adhere to the core philosophy of "creating something never seen before," persistently exploring the recreation of his personal style.
Related Info

Select: Modern & Contemporary Art

Ravenel Autumn Auction 2023

Saturday, December 2, 2023, 4:00pm