TALK BACK

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  • Condition Report

  • Provenance

    Galerie Perrotin, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    New York, Galerie Perrotin, KAWS: PASS THE BLAME, 2 November - 21 December 2013

  • Catalogue Essay

    'KAWS is not just referring to pop culture, he is making it.' (Michael Auping, 'America’s Cartoon Mind', KAWS: WHERE THE END STARTS, exh. cat., Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas, 2016, p. 63)

    KAWS is one of the most prominent and forward-looking artists of our present age. Prodigious in scale and composed of vibrant chromatic hues, the present lot is a striking example of the American visual contemporary artist’s signature shaped canvas paintings. Immaculately rendered in shades of red, blue, turquoise and neon yellow, TALK BACK appears to leap off the wall and into the viewer's space, juxtaposing the canvas’ flat surface as the viewer is thrown into a mass of kaleidoscopic dynamism. Tapping into the nostalgic potency of cherished childhood icons who are universally recognised, KAWS redesigns them in his work, inserting their cartoon forms back into the realm of fine art.

    TALK BACK represents a robust development of this strand of the artist’s practice, as he twists and magnifies the animated pop culture icons with an aesthetic that straddles both traditional illustration and expressive abstraction. Through elements that seem to resemble cartoon eyes, a chin, and clenched teeth, the canvas hints at certain character’s features without offering the viewer with enough information for a picture to be fully formed. The cartoonish symbolism extends onto the shape of the canvas itself, as KAWS moves away from a conventional rectangular plane towards a more abstract form. Among the colourful elements, however, a pair of X-ed out eyes confront the viewer. Drawing on the imagery from cartoons after a character has drunk from a vial of poison, KAWS’s trademark X-ed out eyes give a somewhat sinister edge to a work that initially feels very playful. The subversive nature of the present lot’s title, TALK BACK, contributes to the unique sense of the uncanny that is fostered in the work. While the result of KAWS’s ingenious compositions is a visual language that is recognisable, translatable and impressionable, his infused animated icons also present the viewer with witty humour and critical discourse.

    Painted with such perfected clarity that there is no trace of his freehanded approach, TALK BACK clearly demonstrates the artist’s technical mastery and meticulous attention to detail. The precision of his brushwork reflects the artist’s admiration of Jeff Koons, whose ‘perfectionist mentality’ KAWS has commended, appreciating how ‘over the top’ it is (Brian Donnelly, quoted in Tobey Maguire, ‘KAWS’, Interview Magazine, 27 April 2010, online). KAWS’s works follow in the footsteps of Pop Art, and his questioning of consumer culture aligns his practice with artistic predecessors, including Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Claes Oldenburg and Takashi Murakami. Uniquely to him, however, KAWS’s instantly identifiable aesthetic straddles both the art and design worlds with a global outreach arguably achieved by no artist before him, incorporating public art, product design, toy making, painting, sculpture and printmaking. With inspiration drawn from a variety of other sources, including high art, comic books, and popular animations, KAWS’s clean graphic style of perfect lines and abstract shapes stems from his initial background as a graffiti provocateur in the 1990s. In modifying photographic images on billboards, fashion and bus shelter advertisements, KAWS would leave his playful mark in such a skilful manner that his brushstroke-free versions could have been mistaken for the initially intended imagery. Executed in 2013, the present lot is thus not only a compelling example of KAWS’s refined aesthetic, but of the transformation of his work into the upper echelons of fine art galleries and institutions.

    With his unique aesthetic that has garnered him a devoted international following including more than 2.5 million people on Instagram, KAWS has experienced a meteoric ascent to international acclaim, vehemently establishing his position in the lexicon of contemporary art. His characteristically bright compositions have avidly caught the attention of collectors worldwide, as well as industry giants and collaborators such as Nike, Dior and Uniqlo. His practice has been honoured with numerous solo shows around the globe including, most recently, a monumental retrospective at the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia (2019-2020).

  • Catalogue Essay

    「KAWS不只是在指涉波普文化,他是在創造它。」(麥克‧奧平,《美國的卡通心靈》,《KAWS:始於終點》,展覽畫冊,沃斯堡現代藝術博物館, 德克薩斯州,2016年,第63頁)

    KAWS是我們這個時代最重要且最具遠見的藝術家之一。尺幅龐大且在構圖上色調明豔,此件拍品是這位美國視覺藝術家的標誌性不規則形狀的布面作品中出類拔萃的典範。以紅、藍、青綠,以及霓虹黃,色度完美地呈現,《回嘴》彷彿跳脫牆面,躍入觀者所在的空間,使畫布平整的表面與之並列,將觀者帶入千變萬化的動態世界。KAWS在他的作品中將人們所熟知的、自童年時代便喜愛的卡通人物進行重新設計,將它們的卡通形式重新融入到藝術領域。

    《回嘴》代表著藝術家創作理念的強勁發展,他將流行文化中,標誌性動畫人物以跨越傳統插畫和抽象表現的美學風格進行改變和放大。畫面通過看似卡通的眼睛、下巴,以及咬緊的牙等等元素,暗示著某些卡通人物的特徵,卻又不為觀者提供足夠的信息來形成完整的畫面。隨著KAWS從傳統的方形畫面轉向一種更為抽象的形式,卡通式的象徵意義也延伸到了畫布的形狀本身。然而,在這些色彩繽紛的元素中,一雙X眼睛直視著觀者。從一個卡通人物喝了一瓶毒藥之後的形象中汲取靈感,KAWS的標誌性X眼讓原本感覺俏皮的作品帶著某種程度的惡毒特質。本拍品的標題,《回嘴》,其顛覆性本質,也為作品所醞釀的獨特怪異感錦上添花。僅管KAWS巧妙構圖的成果是一種易於辨識、易於傳達、易於影響的視覺語言,他所創造之充滿活力的人物同時也向觀者呈現了機智幽默和批判性的論述。

    以如此完美並清晰的繪制手法,作品中完全看不到他徒手繪畫的痕跡,《回嘴》明顯展示了藝術家在技巧上的精湛和對細節的無微不至。他在筆觸上的精確影射著藝術家對傑夫·昆斯的欽慕,而其「完美主義者的心態」被KAWS所讚賞,稱頌其為「極致」(布萊恩·唐納利,引自托比·马奎爾,《KAWS》,〈Interview雜誌〉,2010年4月27日,截自網路)。KAWS的作品緊隨波普藝術的腳步,而他對消費文化的質疑也使他的創作與安迪·沃荷、凱斯·哈林、克萊斯·歐登柏格以及村上隆等藝術先驅人物有著一致性。然而,他的獨特之處在於,KAWS讓人一眼就能辨識的美學風格跨越了藝術和設計兩個領域,結合了公共藝術、產品設計、玩具製造、繪畫、雕塑和版畫製作,有著在他之前可以說其他藝術家未曾達到的全球範圍之影響力。KAWS也從其他各種渠道汲取靈感,包括高雅藝術、連環畫,以及流行動漫等,KAWS具有完美線條和抽象形狀的簡潔圖像風格源自他在1990年代初作為塗鴉先鋒人物的背景。在對廣告看板、時尚和公車站海報的攝影圖像上再創作時,KAWS會以一種巧妙的方式留下他自己俏皮的印記,以至於讓人們將他那與原始海報的完美結合之修改版本誤認為是原始規劃的圖像。創作於2013年,本件拍品不僅是KAWS的精緻美學風格的;一件引人注目之例證,更是他的創作轉變成為進階至高水準藝廊和機構的一個例子。

    他獨特的美學風格為他在國際上贏得了一批忠實粉絲,其中包括超過250萬的Instagram追蹤者,KAWS經歷了飛速的上升,獲得國際上的盛譽,迅猛地建立出他在當代藝術上眾所周知的地位。他特徵鮮明的明亮作品引起了全球收藏家的熱切關注,加上耐吉、奧迪和優衣庫等行業巨頭和合作品牌之推波助瀾。他的創作履履進入美術館,舉辦了全球多場個人展覽,包括正在進行中的, 於澳大利亞的維多利亞國立美術館之大型回顧展(2019年-2020年)。

  • Artist Bio

    KAWS

    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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Property from an Important Private Collection

KAWS

TALK BACK

2013
signed, titled and dated 'KAWS..13 "TALK BACK"..' on the reverse
acrylic on canvas
241 x 221 cm. (94 7/8 x 87 in.)
Painted in 2013.

Estimate
HK$8,000,000 - 12,000,000 
€927,000-1,390,000
$1,030,000-1,540,000

Place Advance Bid
Contact Specialist
Charlotte Raybaud
Head of Evening Sale, 20th Century & Contemporary Art

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 24 November 2019