MADSAKI - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale Hong Kong Thursday, July 9, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    Known only by his pseudonym, MADSAKI, the Osaka-born visual artist’s uncompromising approach to art has propelled him to international recognition. Praised by fellow Japanese icon Takashi Murakami, who hails MADSAKI as ‘bottomless talent’, purchasing dozens of pieces from the younger artist for his ‘Superflat’ collection, the artist’s signature spray-paint splattered compositions rebel against conventions and define the spirit of his era. Raised in New Jersey in the United States and having studied at the Parsons School of Design in New York for his undergraduate degree, MADSAKI’s multicultural upbringing formed both his aesthetics and personality. Particularly known for his Wannabe series, of which the present work is part of, the artist replicates and transforms some of history’s most famous artworks, paying homage to the old masters through his trademark grungy imitations. Although his raw, spray-painted versions appear to be humorous on the surface, MADSAKI takes to appropriation as a recurring theme, found throughout his artistic practice, to use laughter and humour as both distraction and therapy for his inner emotional turmoil.

    Mark Rothko
    White Center (Yellow, Pink, and Lavender on Rose), 1950
    The geometric composition of the present work is instantly recognisable as one of Mark Rothko’s signature colour field paintings. Depicting Rothkos’ renowned work, White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose) (1950), the artist installs the canvas at a tilted angle, as opposed to the vertically straight orientation of the original work, drawing the viewer’s attention to its uncanny resemblance yet revealing an entirely different painted texture upon closer inspection. Imbuing the original work with a witty attitude that is unique to MADSAKI, the artist provocatively ‘[adds] his own flavour’ to the rectangular panes of pink, white, black, and lemon yellow, demonstrating a masterful control of his aerosol can medium (MADSAKI quoted in MADSAKI: If I Had a Dream, exh. cat., Galerie Perrotin, Hong Kong, 2019, online). Forcing viewers to engage with it from a new perspective, MADSAKI ingeniously claims the work as his own in his satirical yet sentimental version, as he introduces new interpretations through distinct differences in execution, tone, and feeling. Represented by several prominent international art galleries, including Galerie Perrotin and Kaikai Kiki Gallery in Tokyo, MADSAKI has been honoured with numerous solo exhibitions around the world in recent years.


White Center II (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose)

signed and dated 'Madsaki 2015' on the reverse
aerosol and housepaint on canvas
123 x 180 x 4 cm. (48 3/8 x 70 7/8 x 1 5/8 in.)
Executed in 2015, this work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity issued by CLEAR EDITION & GALLERY, Tokyo.

HK$500,000 - 700,000 

Sold for HK$550,000

Contact Specialist
Danielle So
Associate Specialist, Head of Day Sale

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 9 July 2020