KAWS - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in association with Yongle Hong Kong Tuesday, November 29, 2022 | Phillips

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  • “I use the X the same way that Mercedes uses the grille on their cars… You see them in the rearview mirror and just have a glimpse of it, and you know the style of the car going behind you.”
    — KAWS
    American artist Brian Donnelly, otherwise known as KAWS, has established himself as one of the most forward-thinking artists of his epoch. Now instantly recognisable, his oeuvre is celebrated for the ways in which KAWS manages to break the barriers between commercial culture and fine arts, building a unique visual lexicon through his playful and subversive compositions that has become singular in its own right.


    YOU (#3), painted in 2017, is an eye-catching and refreshing black and white composition rendered in black acrylic on a pure white, shaped canvas. As if the artist has magnified a doodle, the painting is composed of a convoluted continuous line that twists and curves around itself to take the form of a curiously shaped figure whose eyes have been replaced by KAWS’s signature ‘X’ motif. Though the subject is endearing in nature, sharing a resemblance to comic book illustrations of world-cherished characters including Snoopy, the crossed-out eyes imbue the work with a somewhat sinister twist as they nod to the depiction of cartoon figures after they have drunk from a vial of poison. In sleek, confident strokes of his brush, this linear, playful composition is a compelling example of KAWS’s iconic style.


    The present work exhibited at Hong Kong, PMQ, KAWS: ALONG THE WAY (HOCA Foundation), 25 March – 14 April 2019. Artwork: © KAWS

    “KAWS is not just referring to Pop culture, he is making it.”
    — Michael Auping
    Breaking the ideological hierarchies between the avant-garde and kitsch, KAWS gives his characters life through a variety of mediums including clothing, limited-edition toys, and large-scale sculptures. His works can be found in prominent public collections around the world, including the Brooklyn Museum, New York; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas; CAC Malaga; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; and the Rosenblum Collection, Paris.


    KAWS has exhibited extensively around the globe, most recently with solo exhibitions at the Serpentine, London: KAWS: NEW FICTION (digital exhibition) from 18 January - 27 February, 2022; the High Museum of Art in Atlanta: KAWS PRINTS, from 3 December 2021 – 27 March 2022; and Skarstedt Gallery in New York (5 November – 11 December 2021), KAWS: SPOKE TOO SOON. KAWS also recently exhibited a monumental retrospective in his hometown, KAWS: WHAT PARTY, which was hosted by the Brooklyn Museum in New York between 26 February – 5 September 2021.


    In 2019, KAWS’ oeuvre featured in a Hong Kong solo show at PMQ by the HOCA Foundation entitled KAWS: Along the Way (25 March – 14 April 2019), the first such comprehensive survey of KAWS in Hong Kong, which exhibited a selection of his artworks from the last ten years including the present work.

    • Provenance

      Galerie Perrotin, Hong Kong
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Hong Kong, PMQ, KAWS: ALONG THE WAY (HOCA Foundation), 25 March – 14 April 2019

    • 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.  

      View More Works


YOU (#3)

signed and dated 'KAWS..17' on the reverse
acrylic on canvas
215 x 132 cm. (84 5/8 x 51 7/8 in.)
Painted in 2017.

Full Cataloguing

HK$1,000,000 - 2,000,000 

Sold for HK$1,260,000

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+852 2318 2027

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in association with Yongle

Hong Kong Auction 30 November 2022