Mr. - New Now London Thursday, December 9, 2021 | Phillips

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  • 'It’s not so much about me, but something Japanese. It is about Japan and the way things are. Otaku is something that only exists in Japan. I want to translate this for the people of the world to understand.'  —Mr. 

    Hong Kong—At a Kiosk is typical work from Mr.’s oeuvre that demonstrates the chaotic, sticker-mania aesthetic that is reminiscent of Manga and Anime cartoons evoking true Kawaii environments. The sickly-sweet characters, with bobbing heads boasting brightly hued hair and commanding eyes portray the artist’s personal fantasies. Mr. consistently draws on themes from Japanese Otaku subculture that invite the viewer to have feelings of ‘moe’ — a Japanese notion that relates to the admiration of fictional characters. On closer look the oversized, glistening eyes of each character reveal icons that tell a separate story, one that contrasts with these seemingly innocent undertones. This narrative feature has also been traditionally associated with anime and manga, where endearing characters will often be dark and manipulative in their nature. Mr.’s employment, is a wider reflection on solitude, social anxiety, and fear where chaotic environments echo Japan’s trauma from World War II and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.


    Recently, Mr. developed a collaborative experiential installation at the Musée national des arts asiatiques-Guimet, in Paris with international musician Pharrell Williams, who is self-proclaimed fan of the artist. Titled A Call to Action, the work brought Mr.’s paintings to life. Classroom chairs in neon colours covered in graffiti and life-sized sculptures armed with manga child characters took over the fourth floor of the museum to confront the viewer with an immersive and eerie environment. The work’s title also carries an urgent message: children will confront the troubled world that adults leave behind for them. As is evident in Hong Kong—At a Kiosk, Mr.’s seemingly playful work takes inspiration from children to highlight the optimism and hope needed to effect change. Spanning painting, sculpture, installation and video, Mr.’s neo-Pop style is highly identifiable and influential, honed under the mentorship of fellow Superflat artist Takashi Murakami after the younger artist’s graduation from Tokyo’s Sokei Academy of Fine Art and Design in the mid-1990s. Mr. gained popularity in the 2000s where his work was included in numerous anime-themed group shows such as the 2001 My Reality: Contemporary Art and the Culture of Japanese Animation at Des Moines Art Centre, and the 2005 AniMate at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum. Mr.’s work can now also be found in important public collections including The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Seattle Art Museum and Deagu Art Museum in South Korea. 


     Mr's Melancholy Walk Around the Town at Perrotin, Paris

    • Provenance

      Perrotin, Paris
      Acquired from the above by the present owner



Hong Kong—At a Kiosk

signed 'Mr.' lower right; signed and dated ‘Mr. 2019’ on the turnover edge
acrylic and silkscreen on canvas
161.9 x 129.5 cm (63 3/4 x 50 7/8 in.)
Executed in 2019.

Full Cataloguing

£150,000 - 250,000 

Sold for £403,200

Contact Specialist

Simon Tovey
Specialist, Head of New Now Sale
+44 20 7318 4084

New Now

London Auction 9 December 2021