Takashi Murakami - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale Hong Kong Thursday, March 30, 2023 | Phillips
  • Dazzling in its incandescent splendour, Takashi Murakami’s Flower Parent and Child is masterfully produced in gilded gold leaf. Demonstrating a profound understanding of a globalised contemporary culture, Murakami is widely recognised as an innovator and cultural synthesiser of our time. Exemplifying the artist’s wholly unique visual lexicon, Flower Parent and Child presents an original response to the conditions and sensibilities of a contemporary era. 



    Golden Splendour


    Flower Parent and Child features a smooth and seductive surface that is resplendently reflective. Murakami’s most iconic motif – the flower, takes on the role of a parent and child, holding hands and standing in synchronicity. Later recreated as a 10 metre tall public sculpture in Roppongi, Tokyo, Murakami had envisioned that families would move around to take in the full scope of Flower Parent and Child.



    The Story of Flower Parent and Child, Roppongi Hills



    Full of intricacy in its gold leaf texture and decorated on all sides, the sculpture is designed to be viewed from all angles, providing compositional complexity that is impossible to absorb in one glance. Demanding movement from its viewer, the current sculpture is a conversational piece that allows families to find resonance through an interactive experience, as they mirror the family bond shown in the work.


    “…it's a sculpture decorated with ‘flower’ motifs where a family could communicate with one another to find out how these motifs relate to each other. In short, when I created this sculpture, I had to write a scenario to imagine if those ‘communication’ between a parent and a child would work out or not when going 360 degrees around this sculpture.” 
    — Takashi Murakami


    Visually striking, Flower Parent and Child is a paradigm of Murakami’s multidisciplinary oeuvre that masterfully combines contemporary Pop aesthetic with traditional Nihonga techniques. With a background in Japanese painting, Murakami frequently makes references to works by Japanese masters such as Ogata Kōrin’s famous folding screens through the use of metallic gold, whilst simultaneously evoking statues found in ancient temples and shrines through the use of gold leaf in his sculptures. 



    Ogata Kōrin, Red and White Plum Blossoms, 18th century
    Collection of the MOA Museum, Atami, Japan
    Image: akg-images / Album


    Best known for his paintings on folding screens that profoundly impacted many Western painters, such as Gustav Klimt, Ogata Kōrin often depicted scenery that masterfully combines abstraction and naturalism. Red and White Plum Blossoms portrays a dreamlike landscape that is both abstract yet opulent – two flowering trees with writhing branches on both sides of a flowing river are set against subtle grids of gold leaf, lending the painting its ethereal glow. Devoid of a sense of depth within the composition, the scene appears to be flat, denying a specific sense of place or time.


    “People react to shiny things but it’s not so much about how beautiful they are, but rather about the materials that have been used. Historically speaking, the colour, gold, more precisely gold leaf has been used in many temples and shrines and other historical objects. Especially since my background is in Japanese painting, I have been training to use such gold leaf. Drawing from such traditional Japanese paintings, I naturally chose gold for the colour to use for my new sculpture.”
    — Takashi Murakami

    A Symbol of Hope, Happiness, and Family



    Pablo Picasso, Mother and Child, 1921 
    Art Institute of Chicago
    Image: The Art Institute of Chicago / Art Resource, NY/ Scala, Florence,
    © 2023 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 


    Flower Parent and Child's uniqueness also lies in its defiance of gender norms: going against an historically established pictorial tradition which represents parenthood only in its female declination, Murakami sculpture allows viewers of any gender to identify with the adult floral figure. Throughout centuries, in Western and non-Western art, endless are the examples of paintings that revolve around the theme of maternity, and the bond between mother and child, as in the artworks shown below. These depictions contribute to promoting a stereotype according to which women’s lives and identities within a society are entirely fulfilled only through procreation and motherhood. The generic term ‘parent’, which Murakami chooses to title his work, gives recognition to any form of parenting, including fatherhood. 



    Murakami’s Iconic Flower


    Murakami is generally acknowledged to be the father of the highly popular two-dimensional style and artistic theory known as Superflat. At the origin of this movement are the flat aesthetics of Japanese traditional art and the more recent trend of 2D graphics, which includes anime and manga. The mixture of these two visual expressions has converted into the contemporary hybrid Superflat style, which pays homage to the past and the present of Japanese art and culture.


    The flower, Murakami’s signature motif and an almost omnipresent element of his work, embodies a painful historical contradiction: behind the artist’s iconic cartoonish floral figures, their bright smiles and enthusiastic expressions lies in fact a hidden, profound collective trauma. The spiral of violence and upheaval which haunted Japan for decades since World War II, the psychological and physical consequences of the Japanese defeat and the devastating atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki left in the country’s post-war generations a repressed yet drastic sense of fear and disheartenment. The spread of Pop culture and colourful child-like aesthetics in the second half of the 20th century are the country’s radical response to the suffering, an attempt to transmit a sense of light-heartedness and airiness in a climate of communal grief.


    In ‘Earth in My Window’, a 2012 essay, Murakami reflects on post-war consumeristic Japanese society and the infantilising Japanese Pop aesthetics, delving into the source of contemporary kawaii culture’. He argues: ‘from social mores to art and culture, everything is super two-dimensional. Kawaii (cute) culture has become a living entity that pervades everything. With a population heedless of the cost of embracing immaturity, the nation is in the throes of a dilemma: a preoccupation with anti-aging may conquer not only the human heart, but also the body.’ For the artist, Japan has become a fascinating paradox: ‘a utopian society as fully regulated as the science-fiction world George Orwell envisioned in 1984: comfortable, happy, fashionable—a world nearly devoid of discriminatory impulses.’i



    Collector’s Digest


    • Born in Tokyo in 1962, Takashi Murakami studied Japanese painting at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, where he received a Bachelor in Fine Arts in 1986, and a Ph.D. in 1993.

    • Trained in Japanese traditional painting, the artist has later become the main exponent of the Superflat movement, a contemporary hybrid form of artistic representation which draws inspiration from the Nihonga traditional style and from Japanese Pop cultural elements. In 2001, he founded Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd., an art production company with offices in Tokyo and New York.

    • Interested in the relations between fine arts and the commercial world, Murakami regularly collaborates with fashion and design brands: his most notable artistic partnerships include those with Supreme, Uniqlo, Crocs, Louis Vuitton and Casio.

    • Among his latest exhibitions are Takashi Murakami: Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow at The Broad, Los Angeles (21 May – 25 September 2022) and Takashi Murakami: An Arrow Through History at Gagosian New York (11 May – 25 June 2022).


    Takashi Murakami, translated by Linda Hoaglund, ‘Earth in My Window’, Gwern, 3 April 2012, online

    • Provenance

      Perrotin Gallery, Hong Kong
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Hong Kong, Tai Kwun, Murakami vs. Murakami, 1 June - 1 September 2019 (similar example exhibited)
      Tokyo, Roppongi Hill, Flower Family, 26 November 2020 - 26 September 2021 (similar example exhibited)

    • 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


Flower Parent and Child

signed and dated 'TAKASHI 2020' on the inside rim of the larger figure's neck
gold leaf on bronze
248.5 x 152.3 x 115.3 cm. (97 7/8 x 59 7/8 x 45 3/8 in.)
Executed 2018-2020, this work is unique, and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity issued by Perrotin Gallery.

Full Cataloguing

HK$15,500,000 - 23,500,000 

Sold for HK$14,002,000

Contact Specialist

Charlotte Raybaud
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
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20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 30 March 2023