MADSAKI - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in Association with Poly Auction Hong Kong Thursday, December 3, 2020 | Phillips

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  • MADSAKI, a Japan-born visual artist known only by a pseudonym, has gained recognition for his distinctive use of spray paint to create fine art. Moving to the States as a 6-year old boy, MADSAKI’s early encounters with New York’s graffitied streets left a deep impression, and a rebellious, autobiographical streak runs through many of his best works.


    MADSAKI alludes to a life torn between two opposing cultures in many of his works: the Character series blends American and Japanese cartoon characters into family-style portraits (see for example Untitled (2017)), whilst the Wifey Series (2018) documents quietly joyful moments in MADSAKI’s marriage, with his wife seen in her wedding dress, applying her makeup and even brushing her teeth.


    MADSAKI, Untitled, 2017

    Untitled (2018) unites MADSAKI’s two signature painting subjects: the Wifey series and the Character series. An irreverent yet tender family portrait, MADSAKI is instantly identifiable by his signature backwards baseball cap, cargo pants and dry humour, whilst a thought bubble emanating from his head announces ‘NEXT PHOTO NAKED’, a promise which the artist indeed delivers on in other paintings from this series. His wife is depicted with her long auburn hair as in the Wifey series, and MADSAKI’s abiding love for her is declared through the emoji-filled thoughts of his pre-teenage daughter. They play the part of a stereotypical all-American nuclear family, with his gawky teenage son dressed in a Knicks t-shirt and carrying their pet shiba inu, whilst an ensemble cast of American and Japanese cartoon characters caper in the background. At their feet Bart Simpson, Spongebob SquarePants, Sesame Street’s Elmo rub shoulders with King Nikochan from Dr. Slump and Dragon Ball Z, whilst Garfield and baby Goku flutter around the family’s heads. The background is emblazoned with MADSAKI’s name and the lyrics of ‘That’s Life’, most famously recorded by Frank Sinatra. Though the song’s lyrics allude to a life of ups and downs, Untitled is in many aspects a definitive declaration of MADSAKI’s successes in life, both as an artist and a person. 


    A drawing of his family portrait by the artist, posted on the Instagram account of MADSAKI

    MADSAKI’s unique approach to art has won him many fans, including fellow Japanese icon Takashi Murakami, who hailed the younger artist’s “bottomless talent” and bought dozens of pieces for his personal “Superflat” collection. Today MADSAKI is represented by several prominent international art galleries, including Galerie Perrotin and Kaikai Kiki Gallery in Tokyo.

    • Provenance

      Kaikai Kiki Gallery, Tokyo
      Acquired from the above by the present owner



signed and dated 'Madsaki 2018' on the overlap
acrylic and aerosol on canvas
120.2 x 120.2 cm. (47 3/8 x 47 3/8 in.)
Executed in 2018.

Full Cataloguing

HK$550,000 - 650,000 

Sold for HK$1,197,000

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Associate Specialist, Head of Day Sale

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in Association with Poly Auction

Hong Kong Auction 4 December 2020