Yoshitomo Nara, ‘Remember Your Childhood Days’, 1995, Phillips

Property of an Important Asian Collector

This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity issued by Rabbit Hills.

From the Catalogue:
Painted in 1995, Remember Your Childhood Days is a relatively early work by the artist Yoshitomo Nara that depicts a ginger-haired cherub in a moment of quiet. The protagonist of the work does not accost the viewer, nor does she cast a side eye in mischief, but instead she looks within. Eyes closed, she seems to be reflecting on a simpler time – the innocuous cocoon of nostalgia. While many works in Nara’s oeuvre underline the innocence of childhood with rebellious undertones, this work considers the pure desire for happiness and solitude.

The work is striking and almost childlike in its simplicity and honesty – a cherubic young toddler wearing a swimming cap, submerged mid-waist in water against a soft pastel background. The child’s state of oblivion towards her audience suggests that she is perhaps escaping into her psyche to remember, to contemplate or to enjoy a moment in time. According to the artist, “the overwhelming solitude of those moments turns into pleasure” (Nara in It Comes in the Dead of Night – Midnight Thinker, 2017). It is in this moment of introspection that Nara invites us to investigate beyond the surface of the painting. What is intriguing is that the canvas itself bears a hidden image. Beneath the primary paint layer bears a shadow, palimpsest image, revealed only under ultra-violet light –a painting of a ‘slanted-eyed’ girl, typical of Nara’s earlier period works, with bold marker-esque black outline of the figures. This earlier work is now hidden beneath what is now Remember Your Childhood Days, suggesting that Nara painted over an earlier work, in favour of an image-and-text approach to the composition, likened to posters and billboards. Brilliantly illustrating Nara’s stylistic development, the intrinsic history of the work is amplified by a textual reminder to look back at our own early history.

When taken with its bold proclamation - ‘Yr Childhood’ printed in plain words beneath the child in question - the work’s title Remember Your Childhood Days becomes an imperative for its audience to confront childhood in all its bygone, nostalgic glory. We are confronted by the message to return to nascent, or our true child-like selves, poised by childhood’s very own talisman - the child at the centre of the work itself.
Courtesy of Phillips

Signature: signed, titled and dated '"remember Your childhood days" Nara [in Japanese] '95' on the reverse

Noriko Miyamura and Shinko Suzuki, eds., Yoshitomo Nara: The Complete Works Volume 1: Paintings, Sculptures, Editions, Photographs 1984-2010, Tokyo, 2011, no. P-1995-044, p. 123 (illustrated)

Blum & Poe Gallery, Los Angeles
Private Collection
Sotheby's, New York, 13 May 2004, lot 309
Private Collection
Acquired from the above by the present owner

About Yoshitomo Nara

Influenced by elements of popular culture such as anime, manga, Walt Disney cartoons, and punk rock, Yoshitomo Nara creates paintings, sculptures, and drawings of adorable-yet-sinister childlike characters. Painted with simple bold lines, primary colors, and set against empty backgrounds, these small children and animals often share the canvas with text, knives, plants, and cardboard boxes, among other recurring elements. As one of the fathers and central figures of the Japanese neo-Pop movement, Nara’s work expresses the struggle to find an identity fractured by war, rapid modernization, and an omnipresent visual culture. Nara’s sculptures, made primarily from fiberglass, and his drawings on postcards, envelopes, and scraps of paper, further this exploration using the same elegance of line and simple palette as his paintings.

Japanese, b. 1959, Hirosaki, Japan

Group Shows

Seoul Korea ,
Faces: from Warhol to Chun Kyung-ja
10H TS
New York,
Contemporary Magic
Infinite Diversity
Masters Projects, 
Stare Into The Rising Sun (Editions by Contemporary Asian Art Stars)
View Artist's CV