TITLE: Kawabata's Tombstone
DATE: May 2012
PRICE: ¥ 19,241,972
PREFERRED BUYER: National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan
CONDITIONS OF SALE: If displayed publically, this painting has to be mounted no higher than 20 cm from the gallery floor, and it has to be accompanied with a modest display of freshly cut flowers underneath.
TECHNIQUE: Oil on canvas, unframed.
DIMENSIONS: 65 x 53 cm
STORY: This AbFab painting is dedicated to Yasunari Kawabata (1924-1972), probably the best Japanese writer of all time, and especially to his novel "The Old Capital". In this work Kawabata's writing is beautifully controlled and composed, with a novel use of silence in dialog, and hardly any distinction between thinking and talking to oneself. Kawabata's work was admired by many, and it won him a Nobel Prize in 1968, among many other awards and distinctions. However, probably the most notable is his influence, mentorship and friendship with Yukio Mishima, with whom he was even linked in suicide. Kawabata's reaction to the Japanese defeat in the Second World War was to write elegies, but he was able to see so much beauty in any decline. That is why the Sun on the Japanese flag in this AbFab painting is very close to the bottom-left (West) corner, signifying both the "sunset" of the Japanese culture and its closer ties with the Western World. Someone once said that Americans didn't bombard Kyoto, so that their academics would have to come somewhere for a sabbatical. This sad possibility does not take away any beauty from the old capital; on the contrary it adds more to it. Just like the tragic suicides of Mishima and Kawabata didn't make their struggle for the preservation of the Japanese culture and against American occupation any less worthwhile.