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  • Catalogue Essay

    "When future audiences look at our work, I’d like them to think of the end of an era when art was still sheltered in a sanctuary, and when we were working ceaselessly to bring it outside." —— Takashi Murakami

    "We are driven by an innate ambition to make art works that are shaped by societal observations—in a variety of media—which by their existence produce a new cultural impact." —— Virgil Abloh

     

    Takashi Murakami and Virgil Abloh

     

    Both master cultural synthesisers of our time, Takashi Murakami and Virgil Abloh were named by Time magazine as the world's most influential people. The two first met more than a decade ago when they did a collaboration for Kanye West's album cover, Graduation. Both celebrated as multi-hyphenate icons and leaders of contemporary consumer culture, Abloh and Murakami have combined their most recognisable symbols of smiling flowers, the Off White label and Abloh’s signature quotation marks into works composed of icons such as “Flower” and Flower Belt. These motifs have unmistakably become defining hallmarks in their oeuvre.

     

    Using pop culture as a springboard, Murakami and Abloh have transformed contemporary art culture, attracting new audiences and building a stronger bridge between art and the general public, fashion, and subculture, as exemplified by the massive following at each of their exhibition collaborations at Gagosian across multiple international locations.

     

    In a 2018 interview with Architectural Digest, Murakami and Abloh spoke about their collaboration experience for their joint exhibition, AMERICA TOO, at Gagosian Beverly Hills.

     

    Architectural Digest: Virgil, as artists, both you and Takashi have created your own trademarks and icons. What was it like to combine your distinct visual languages?

     

    Virgil Abloh: I think that was what was initially intriguing—can the visual languages become one? It’s not a given. The symbols that are used in the artworks that we create are the ones that are most understood to stand for us if we don’t exist, sort of in the contemporary sense. The show here, “AMERICA TOO,” is a testament to the different formats in which those two identities can exist together.

     

    AD: Tell me about the inspiration for the collaboration. How did it come about?

    Takashi Murakami: What triggered the collaboration was our re-encounter when Virgil came to visit my show at the MCA Chicago last year, where he has his own exhibition scheduled next year. Michael Darling, the curator of both our shows, reintroduced us. We were then in a talk show together at ComplexCon, and I learned more about his creative thinking and background during that talk on stage.

     

    VA: The inspiration was more like a study of our time and our identities. Both of us have a desire to exist and participate in the now, and I think this exhibition is representative of that. These symbols that we both have sort of bestowed with our personality exist in contemporary society on many levels, in different spheres, but us doing this show sort of unites them.

     

    AD: Takashi, Virgil’s work is minimalist and Bauhaus-inspired, which is a departure from your own practice. What is it like to collaborate with an artist whose visual language is different from yours?

     

    TM: Virgil was following and studying my practices, and it was because he mentioned this to me that I proposed our collaboration. We had also worked together on Kanye’s project in the past. So I only found out that we had very different visual languages after I started collaborating with him. On the other hand, Virgil’s theme is to continuously bridge over architecture, fashion, music, and others, and mine is to bridge over anime, subculture, art, Japan, and the West, so in that sense I don’t think we are entirely different—in fact, we are quite similar.

     

    Read the entire interview here.

     

    Collector’s Digest

     

    Vigil Abloh is an American multidisciplinary artist involved in the worlds of fashion, business, music, and contemporary art. He has been the creative director for Louis Vuitton menswear since 2018, and is also the found of the Off-White label. As a trained architect and Kanye West's former creative director, Abloh refined and honed his ability to tune into the needs and desires of different audiences, establishing himself as one of the leaders of contemporary consumer culture.

     

    Takashi Murakami is best known for his contemporary combination of fine art and pop culture. In the 1990s, he founded the Superflat movement in an attempt to expose the "shallow emptiness of Japanese consumer culture." He uses recognisable iconography of his own creation, such as Mr. DOB and cartoonish flowers that play on the familiar aesthetic of mangas, Japanese-language comics, rendering works that appear more democratic and accessible, all the while denouncing the universality and unspecificity of consumer goods. Murakami has done collaborations with numerous brands and celebrities including Kanye West, Louis Vuitton, Pharrell Williams and Google.

     

    • Condition Report

    • Provenance

      Gagosian Gallery
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

18

Flower Belt

signed and dated ' "VIRGIL" © 2018 Takashi 2018' on the overlap
sublimation printing, Off-White Belt and Off-White zip ties on canvas mounted on aluminium frame
canvas 57.7 x 49.1 x 5.1 cm. (22 3/4 x 19 3/8 x 2 in.)
belts 201 cm. (79 1/8 in.)

Executed in 2018.

Full Cataloguing

Estimate
HK$350,000 - 450,000 
€38,200-49,100
$44,900-57,700

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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