Takashi Murakami - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale Hong Kong Saturday, May 25, 2019 | Phillips
  • Provenance

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

  • Catalogue Essay

    “Although the works may appear to have a generic graffiti air to them, their surfaces exude MADSAKI’s peculiar brand of sorrow, which I appreciate.”
    Takashi Murakami, quoted in foreword to the “HERE TODAY, GONE TOMORROW”, MADSAKI’s solo exhibition at Kaikai Kiki Gallery, 19 May – 15 June 2017.

    Flower Collaboration with MADSAKI, executed in 2017, provides a dazzling and kaleidoscopic window into the artist’s celebrated practice of hyper-conceptual iconographies and highly stylised techniques, and captures a glimpse of his enduring friendship with an artist also hailing from his home country, Madsaki. In true contemporary fashion, the friendship of these two artists began on Instagram. Having followed each other on social media, it was Madsaki’s ‘Wannabe series’ Matisse (a spray-painted, smiley-faced reworking of Dance II) that finally led Murakami to reach out and purchase this piece. Brought up in different cultural backgrounds, Murakami found Madsaki to be “overly friendly and loud-mouthed” (Takashi Murakami, ‘Madsaki: Here Today, Gone Tommorw’ in A Message from Takashi Murakami, 2017, online) when they first met in person. While Murakami coined and developed the Superflat movement embodying the bold, bright and kawaii (cute) idiosyncrasies of Japanese pop culture, Madsaki grew up as a Japanese immigrant in suburban New Jersey, learning the ropes of street art as part of the NYC collective Barnstormers. Yet now as colleagues at Kaikai Kiki, Murakami’s own modern day Warhol factory, Murakami claims that despite their cultural differences, once they began to work together he fell “in love with [the] part of [Madsaki] that is an artist” (Takashi Murakami, ‘Madsaki: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow’ in A Message from Takashi Murakami, 2017, online.)

    Flower collaboration with MADSAKI bursts with energy as a dazzling array of monochromatic smiling flowers spread seemingly endlessly across the canvas, over a background of entangled skulls. Rendered carefully in black, the signature motif of skulls has been a fixation of Murakami ever since the meeting with his mentor, the Japanese art historian Nobuo Tsuji, in 2009. Imbedding a deeper engagement in his work with historical Japanese art, he began incorporating the decorative and patterned Rinpa style that originated from the Edo-period of artistic revival through the depiction of skulls, appearing as a bed of wild flowers when seen from a distance, to emphasise the fragility of life. This idea of death is juxtaposed with Madsaki’s signature smiley faces painted in stark white and patterning the canvas with drips of paint, conveying the frenetic energy of graffiti. The motif of the smiling flower first appeared in Madsaki’s Hickory Dickory Dock show in 2016, where Murakami gave him free reign to apply his graffiti-inspired style to the flower motif, imbuing his iconic ebullient flowers with a hint of sorrow.

  • 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 collaboration with MADSAKI

signed and dated 'TAKASHI 2017' on the overlap
acrylic on canvas mounted on aluminium frame
141 x 120 cm. (55 1/2 x 47 1/4 in.)
Executed in 2017.

HK$1,400,000 - 2,400,000 

Sold for HK$3,750,000

Contact Specialist
Isaure de Viel Castel
Head of Department, 20th Century & Contemporary Art

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

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 26 May 2019