To say that Nara Yoshitomo had a triumphant start to October would be putting things mildly. After all, the acclaimed Japanese artist smashed all expectations when his works broke records back to back during Hong Kong’s auction week.
The first work to set a new record was Not Everything but/ Green House, a 3D art installation sold by Poly Auction Hong Kong. Standing proudly at 6m high, the large-scale Green House fetched a final price of HK$40.12 million, becoming Nara’s most expensive artwork ever sold.
But that record lasted for mere hours only, with his Knife Behind Back painting selling at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Sale for a staggering HK$195.7 million in the same afternoon. Measuring a gargantuan 234cm x 208cm, the large artwork was created in 2000, the year Nara returned to his homeland after living in Germany for 12 years. Not only did this sale beat his Poly Auction performance nearly five-fold, it simultaneously conferred on Nara the accolade of being the most expensive Japanese artist in the world. Not a bad day’s work, indeed.