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  • Catalogue Essay

    El Mariachi is a radiant example of Koichi Sato’s joyful group portraits of stylised cartoonish figures, typically depicted with comically exaggerated facial features that blend seamlessly with backgrounds that burst with colour and symbolic imagery. Koichi Sato (b. 1974), a self-taught Japanese artist who now lives and works in New York, has been featured at Bill Brady Gallery in Miami (2017), Ross + Kramer Gallery in New York (2018), and most recently at the WOAW Gallery in Hong Kong (2019), with his solo show, Ecstasy Journey

     

    El Mariachi was included in Ecstasy Journey, and is distinctly Mexican in its subject, differentiating itself from other works of the series such as Kingdom (2019) – offered by Phillips Hong Kong last year and the first of Sato’s works to appear at auction – in which its characters are clad in traditional Chinese garments, holding fans and surrounded by the signs and symbols of a bustling Asian city such as Hong Kong.

     

    While Sato often takes inspiration from old American magazines for his work, El Mariachi is firmly linked to Mexico and its cultural history, which the artist reinforces by using recognisable symbols of the nation, such as the cactus in the background. “El Mariachi” as a noun refers to a traditional Mexican band or a musician member of such a group, typically playing trumpets, guitars and violins. The title of this work thus refers to the two figures gazing out directly at the viewer, dressed in the traditional dress (or Charro suits) of the modern mariachi, from the wide-brimmed hat to the large crimson moños, or bow ties; making this a playful and unique work.

     

    Koichi Sato El Mariachi
    The current work was included in a set of four prints from a total edition of 36, which is signed and numbered by the artist and distributed by WOAW Online Store in 2020
    • Provenance

      WOAW Gallery, Hong Kong
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Hong Kong, WOAW Gallery, Ecstasy Journey, 26 March - 8 April 2019

39

El Mariachi

2019
acrylic and oil on canvas
91.6 x 61.4 cm. (36 1/8 x 24 1/8 in.)
Painted in 2019.

Full Cataloguing

Estimate
HK$70,000 - 90,000 
€7,500-9,700
$9,000-11,500

Sold for HK$163,800

Contact Specialist

Hin Hin Wong

Associate Specialist, 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Hong Kong

+852 2318 2013

[email protected]

 

Thomas Perazzi

Head of Watches, Asia

+852 2318 2031

[email protected]

 

Charlene Lau

Head of Jewels, Hong Kong

+852 2318 2039

[email protected]

 

INTERSECT: Online Auction

Online Auction 23 - 30 March 2021