KAWS - New Now London Wednesday, December 7, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Medicom, Original Fake
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    Inspired by the Pop aesthetics of Claes Oldenburg and Tom Wesselmann and driven by his personal captivation with cartoon characters like Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse or the Michelin Man, KAWS, born Brian Donnelly, emerged from the 1990s New York street art scene where he began his career creating ‘forced collaborations’ by employing advertisement found in public places such as telephone booths. Upon his move to Tokyo, where he continued to broaden his lexicon as a graffiti provocateur, KAWS also embraced the expanding universe of limited edition toys and appropriated these into his art, ultimately creating his own cast of characters and such works of art as Four Foot Dissected Companion.

    The character, Companion, based on the well-known cartoon Mickey Mouse, can be seen in the right part of the body which features a grayscale clown-like figure resembling the same skinny-legged appearance of the Walt Disney creation. Companion’s right half is further marked with the artist’s stylistic signature: exaggerated ears and the typical crossed-out eyes. Intriguingly the left half of the figure in the present lot has been dissected, as the title suggests, as if KAWS sought to examine every possible layer of this world-famous pop culture icon and reveal the bitter truth; childhood is over and that behind a cartoon there lurks a human being. Blending humour with more mature notions of life and death, Four Foot Dissected Companion is playful and contemplative at the same time, and reminds its viewers of the ephemerality of both the body and the nature of fun. With works like the present one KAWS joins a formidable list of artists including Takashi Murakami and Yoshitomo Nara who, in producing these “toys”, aim to blur the line between art and commerce.

  • 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


Four Foot Dissected Companion

incised 'Medicom Toy 2009 Made in China © KAWS 09' on the underside
painted cast vinyl
127 x 60.9 x 38.1 cm (50 x 23 7/8 x 15 in.)
Executed in 2009. This work is from an edition of 100 and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity issued by Original Fake.

£12,000 - 18,000 

Sold for £35,000

Contact Specialist
Simon Tovey
Head of Sale
+44 20 7318 4084

New Now

London Auction 8 December 2016