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  • Provenance

    Guy Hepner Gallery, New York
    Private Collection
    SBI Art Auction, Tokyo, 22 April 2017, Lot 301
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    KAWS is not just referring to pop culture, he is making it.” (Michael Auping, 'America’s Cartoon Mind', in Where the End Starts, exh. cat., Texas, 2017, p. 63).

    KAWS is one of the most iconic and prolific artists of our generation. An artist, collector, designer and entrepreneur with a multi-disciplinary artistic practice incorporating painting, sculpture and printmaking, his multi-faceted identity reflects the fluid nature of art, technology and contemporary popular culture. Over the years, he has created a unique visual language spanning Pop Art, abstract painting, art history and popular culture, the artist’s shaped canvasses offering a window into his graphic visual world of uncanny cartoon characters and highly abstracted compositions.

    UNTITLED cleverly utilises the circular shape of the canvas, conveying a single eye that directly confronts its viewer. This magnified perspective allows the viewer to visualise a larger character beyond the canvas, creating a presence more imposing and emotionally charged than its domestic size. His use of flat, non-hierarchical application of paint with no visible brushstrokes also instils the work with a highly graphic quality, blurring the boundaries between figuration and abstraction. With a sharp contrasting colour palette of muted grey, bold red and radioactive yellow, accompanied by KAWS’ characteristic cross over the eye alluding to drunkenness or death, the simplicity of the composition allows its colours to take the stage. Through UNTITLED, KAWS shows his innate understanding of the emotional and intellectual force of colour, eliciting undercurrents of angst, unease and even empathy in the viewer.

    Drawing inspiration from popular cartoon characters then stripping them of their familiarity through warped perspectives and abstraction KAWS’ work captures the shifting boundaries between the real and virtual, the personal and public, as he continues to work deliberately to reject the air of exclusivity surrounding art, synthesising elements of high and low culture across all areas of his work.

  • 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

151

UNTITLED

2013
signed and dated 'KAWS.. 13' on the reverse
acrylic on canvas
diameter 51 cm. (20 1/8 in.)
Painted in 2013.

Estimate
HK$800,000 - 1,200,000 
€91,100-137,000
$103,000-154,000

Sold for HK$1,250,000

Contact Specialist
Danielle So
Associate Specialist, Head of Day Sale

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 25 November 2019