KAWS - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale Hong Kong Thursday, July 9, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Artificial Gallery, London
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    From an edition of 50 plus 5 printer’s proofs, the present lot is a compelling example that showcases the artist’s unique artistic vocabulary across a variety of mediums. Executed in 2012, this work calls to mind the artist’s earlier graffiti practices in the early 1990s, created in response to a surge of advertisements taking up coveted graffiti spots in New York City. He would unlock the advertising cabinets on the sides of bus shelters and telephone booths, removing the posters and re-working them in his studio, returning them to the public space overnight with his signature crossed out eyes, alterations to the figures, and signing with his tag, KAWS. Turning to a familiar subject that is well known to many, British model Kate Moss, who was the face of the gritty ‘heroin chic’ aesthetic since the 1990s and still often a muse to photographers and artists alike around the world, KAWS boldly taps into the nostalgia of universally cherished cartoon characters and injects this icon with newfound emotional undertones with his signature ‘X’ eyes and the gloved hands of his ever-popular COMPANION character.

  • Artist Biography


    American • 1974

    To understand the work of KAWS is to understand his roots in the skateboard and graffiti crews of New York City. Brian Donnelly chose KAWS as his moniker to tag city streets beginning in the 1990s, and quickly became a celebrated standout in the scene. Having swapped spray paint for explorations in fine art spanning sculpture, painting and collage, KAWS has maintained a fascination with classic cartoons, including Garfield, SpongeBob SquarePants and The Simpsons, and reconfigured familiar subjects into a world of fantasy. 

    Perhaps he is most known for his larger-than-life fiberglass sculptures that supplant the body of Mickey Mouse onto KAWS' own imagined creatures, often with 'x'-ed out eyes or ultra-animated features. However, KAWS also works frequently in neon and vivid paint, adding animation and depth to contemporary paintings filled with approachable imagination. There is mass appeal to KAWS, who exhibits globally and most frequently in Asia, Europe and the United States.  

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signed, numbered and dated 'P.P. 4/5 KAWS..01' lower left and right respectively
silkscreen on paper
43.2 x 71.1 cm. (17 x 27 7/8 in.)
Executed in 2001, this work is printer's proof 4 from an edition of 50 plus 5 printer's proofs.

HK$300,000 - 500,000 

Sold for HK$400,000

Contact Specialist
Danielle So
Associate Specialist, Head of Day Sale

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 9 July 2020