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  • Provenance

    Mary Boone Gallery, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    Cartoons are a genre no longer confined to the realm of children’s entertainment. Its ability to relate to all ages and remain timeless throughout history and contemporary culture is often overlooked. American artist KAWS, taps into this medium by parodying characters from popular cartoons with his distinct artistic aesthetic. The artist draws from the comforting familiarity associated with popular cartoon characters, but also abstracts and reworks them with warped perspectives and frenzied outlines to elicit complex emotional responses from his viewers.

    With ‘X’s for eyes that conventionally represent death in cartoon culture, the present lot shows KAWS utilising his signature motif onto a familiar comic strip beagle character. Well-known for his clean visual imagery, KAWS’s lack of visible brushstrokes and use of a minimalist monochrome palette maintain a graphic quality to the work— stripping the figurative into an abstract surface that directly confronts its viewers. The viewer recognises the lovable beagle character, but its crossed-out eyes and agitated lines assign an entirely new personality to the original cartoon. The repetitive effect from the multiplication of the figure conveys a sense of insecurity— as if the character is attempting to assert its presence by echoing itself.

    Using accessible characters as his main subjects, KAWS opens up the realm of art not only to art critics and intellectuals, but also to a mass audience through popular culture.

  • Artist Biography

    KAWS

    American • 1974

    KAWS (b. 1974, Jersey City, New Jersey; lives and works in Brooklyn, New York) is renowned for his prolific body of work that straddles the worlds of art and design to include paintings, murals, graphic and product design, street art, and large-scale sculptures. Over the last two decades KAWS has built a successful career with work that consistently shows his formal agility as an artist, as well as his underlying wit, irreverence, and affection for our times. His refined graphic language revitalizes figuration with both big, bold gestures and playful intricacies.  

    KAWS often appropriates and draws inspiration from pop culture animations, forming a unique artistic vocabulary across mediums. Admired for his larger-than-life sculptures and hardedge paintings that emphasize line and color, KAWS’s cast of hybrid cartoon characters are the strongest examples of his exploration of humanity. As seen in his collaborations with global brands, the artist’s imagery possesses a sophisticated humor and reveals a thoughtful interplay with consumer products. With their broad appeal, KAWS’s artworks are highly sought-after by collectors inside and outside of the art world, establishing him as a uniquely prominent artist and influence in today’s culture.  

    View More Works

150

UNTITLED (MBFL10)

2015
signed and dated 'KAWS..15' on the reverse
acrylic on canvas
188.5 x 154 cm. (74 1/4 x 60 5/8 in.)
Painted in 2015.

Estimate
HK$2,500,000 - 3,500,000 
€285,000-399,000
$321,000-449,000

Sold for HK$2,375,000

Contact Specialist
Danielle So
Associate Specialist, Head of Day Sale

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 25 November 2019