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  • Provenance

    Galerie Perrotin, Paris
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    MPGMP, 1960->2012 presents the iconic sensory deluge of brightly coloured impossibly intricate imagery that has canonised Takashi Murakami as one of the most celebrated artists of our time. Drawing inspiration from anime, manga, otaku, popular culture, as well as his PhD in nihonga, Murakami’s lionised works bridge tradition and the worlds of contemporary art, design, animation, fashion and contemporary culture. As the king of the vivid psychedelic style he coined “Superflat,” Murakami offers a captivating, meticulously-executed painting composed of countless stylised skulls rendered in multifarious, primarily red hues. Encapsulating the two-dimensional graphic style and “flattening” of high and low culture defining the artist’s notion of “Superflat,” MPGMP, 1960->2012 exemplifies key characteristics that have allowed the artist to reach deification in some circles for his ability to simultaneously straddle East and West, old and new, mainstream and subculture.

    Though Murakami is known for his motley of Neo-pop characters and motifs, often described as “eye candy,” the present lot underscores a profound shift that occurred in his work after meeting his mentor, the Japanese Art Historian Nobuo Tsuji, in 2009. Since then, Murakami has imbedded a deeper engagement in his work with historical Japanese art that has fuelled both the artist’s prodigious imagination as well as ample critical interest. Embellished with a cascade of chromatic skulls, MPGMP, 1960->2012 details Murakami’s fascination with the highly decorative and patterned Rinpa style that originated from the Edo-period of artistic revival.

    Created in the year following the disastrous Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in 2011, the present lot furthermore evokes the Buddhist concept Shogyo mujo connoting the transience of life. “The expression “Shogyo mujo” is very important in Japanese culture,” explains Murakami, “but no one genuinely understands it. After these disasters, people finally understood it in all its brutality.” (Takashi Murakami quoted in Massimiliano Gioni, "Takashi Murakami: SUPERFLAT TO SUPERNATURAL." Flash Art International, 45, no. 284, May 2012, p. 52-56)

    Murakami’s fixation on skulls and preoccupation with the Buddhist concept of life’s ephemerality also extends to the western phenomenon of vanitas, a moralising still-life artwork that emerged in 17th-century Holland illustrating symbolic objects curated to remind viewers of their mortality. Like these memento mori, Murakami’s MPGMP, 1960->2012 features skulls to signify death and when seen from a distance, appears like a bed of wild flowers to further emphasise the fragility of life. In comparison to Andy Warhol’s Skulls (1976), the present lot shares Warhol’s use of vivid colours juxtaposed against macabre subject matter, a technique that evokes the curious entanglement of beauty and death inherent to the human condition. When placed next to Puppy (Vase) (1998), Murakami’s Shogyo mujo can moreover be compared to Jeff Koon’s immaculate white porcelain vase that nearly immortalises his signature West Highland Terrier as a stark contrast to the bundle of short-lived cut flowers that the work is meant for. Re-purposing elements from throughout art history and contemporary culture, Murakami’s hyper-colourful, anime-infused painting offers a master work by one of today’s most lauded artists.

  • Artist Biography

    Takashi Murakami

    Japanese • 1962

    Takashi Murakami is best known for his contemporary combination of fine art and pop culture. He uses recognizable iconography like Mickey Mouse and cartoonish flowers and infuses it with Japanese culture. The result is a boldly colorful body of work that takes the shape of paintings, sculptures and animations.

    In the 1990s, Murakami founded the Superflat movement in an attempt to expose the "shallow emptiness of Japanese consumer culture." The artist plays on the familiar aesthetic of mangas, Japanese-language comics, to render works that appear democratic and accessible, all the while denouncing the universality and unspecificity of consumer goods. True to form, Murakami has done collaborations with numerous brands and celebrities including Kanye West, Louis Vuitton, Pharrell Williams and Google.

    View More Works

Property of an Important European Collector

34

MPGMP, 1960->2012

2012
signed and dated 'TAKASHI 2012' on the overlap
acrylic on canvas
200 x 160 cm. (78 3/4 x 62 7/8 in.)
Executed in 2012.

Estimate
HK$5,000,000 - 7,000,000 
€538,000-753,000
$641,000-897,000

Sold for HK$7,300,000

Contact Specialist
Jonathan Crockett
Deputy Chairman, Asia and Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Asia
+852 2318 2023

Isaure de Viel Castel
Head of Department
+852 2318 2011

Sandy Ma
Head of Sale
+852 2318 2025

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 27 May 2018