Mr. - 24/7: Online Auction Hong Kong Tuesday, July 20, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Catalogue Essay

    The current work

    Mr.’s Happy (2016) is an intricately painted sculpture made of fibre-reinforced plastic, urethane lacquer and acrylic, illustrating the world-famous American singer, songwriter, record producer, fashion designer and entrepreneur, Pharrell Williams. Mr. is celebrated for his adoption of manga and anime in his cartoonish representations of children and young adolescents, rendered in a kawaii style that have led many to associate his work with the Superflat movement and art world superstar, Takashi Murakami.


    As not only a figure who has shaped popular culture himself, but also a collector, consumer and patron of contemporary art, Pharrell has long collected Mr.’s brightly-coloured oeuvre celebrating Japanese youth culture, establishing a relationship with the artist that dates back years.



    Pharrell Williams stands next to a large reproduction of himself, by the artist Mr.


    For this work, Mr. transforms Pharrell into the subject of his sculpture, instantly recognisable as the singer by his signature fedora hat and bow tie. The title of Mr.’s work derives from the title of Pharrell’s hit song, Happy, a cultural phenomenon with over 830 million views on YouTube and over 913 million streams on the music streaming site, Spotify. Another edition from the same series of the current work was featured at Art Basel Hong Kong in 2015 at Galerie Perrotin’s booth, highlighted by Murakami on his Instagram page and heralded by ARTnews as ‘one of the splashiest works in the fair’, despite being ‘no larger than a carton of milk’i. In the same way the song Happy has inspired millions across the world to dance, the viewer can interact with this sculpture, making the figure’s head and hips bob and sway with just a gentle nudge.


    Mr. and Pharrell have since collaborated in a hugely successful exhibition at the Musée Guimet, Paris in 2019, titled, Carte Blanche to Mr. and Pharrell Williams: “A Call to Action”, in which they depict children who have taken over their future, transporting the viewer into another world where children control the narrative. In this collaboration initiated by Pharrell, the artists use manga imagery to ask what kind of world we want for future generations, in their ‘call to action’.


    The artists, Pharrell Williams and Mr., photographed together at their collaborative exhibition, Paris, Musée Guimet, Carte Blanche to Mr. and Pharrell Williams: “A Call to Action”, 10 July - 23 September 2019


    i Sarah Douglas, ‘Pharrell and Fast Sales at Art Basel Hong Kong Continues’, ARTnews, 16 March 2015, online

    • Provenance

      Anzai Gallery, Tokyo
      Acquired from the above by the present owner



signed and dated ‘Mr. 2016’ on the underside; incised with the title and number ‘”Happy” Edition 5/30’ on the metal base
FRP, urethane lacquer and acrylic sculpture; Conrian®, iron and wooden base
34 x 17.8 x 17.8 cm. (13 3/8 x 7 x 7 in.)
Executed in 2016.

Full Cataloguing

HK$320,000 - 500,000 

Sold for HK$403,200

Contact Specialist

Hin Hin Wong
Associate Specialist, 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Hong Kong
+852 2318 2013
[email protected]

24/7: Online Auction

Online Auction 21 - 30 July 2021