TITLE: Cold War
DATE: January 2011
PRICE: US $ 150,000
PREFERRED BUYER: The Naval History Museum (Kyouiku Sankoukan), Naval Academy Etajima, Hiroshima prefecture, Japan
CONDITIONS OF SALE: This painting has to be taken down from public display every year between 08 February and 05 September.
TECHNIQUE: Oil on canvas, unframed
DIMENSIONS: 60 x 45 cm
STORY: This painting explores the fundamental questions of war and peace, their starts and endings, and their necessity. AbFab is especially interested in the symbolic nature that separates war from peace. The fact that a lock of Admiral Nelson's hair was given to the Imperial Japanese Navy by the British Royal Navy after the victory of Tsushima (kept today in the Naval History Museum at Etajima) is probably less remarkable than the fact that the British Royal Navy kept anybodies hair! It is also interesting that many countries have their war and peace flags, but nothing in between, while most of the time between competing interests is spent in a state that is neither war nor peace. Japan seems to be particularly suitable for making such an example. The Rising Sun Flag was first adopted by the Imperial Japanese Army in 1870, and used in many military conflicts since then. One of the first significant ones was the Russian-Japanese war, between 08 February 1904 and 05 September 1905. It coasted only 130,000 army lives and about 20,000 civilian lives, thus the price of this painting. The price was given in the US dollars because most of the funds for this Japanese military campaign were provided by the American citizen Jakob Heinrich Schiff, and the repayment of that loan started what we know today as the Wall Street. Symbolism of this conflict certainly goes in many directions, one of the most notable being the decision of Montenegro to join; when this country re-emerged again from the rubbles of ex-Yugoslavia it was recognized formally by Japan in 2006, which ended a "war" that lasted exactly 101 years. Abfab suggests that this relationship would have been perfect for the newly created flag. This is also a perfect event to ponder the relativity of roles that nations (like Montenegro and Japan) and individuals (like Jakob Schiff and Maria Alexandrovna Blank) play in shaping up the global balance of power.