Takashi Murakami - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale Hong Kong Tuesday, June 21, 2022 | Phillips

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  • “The enso is a true homage to Japanese tradition, a return to a more unfettered minimalist practice, the result of a complex artistic and spiritual path.”
    — Emmanuel Perrotin


    The present series sees Japanese artist Takashi Murakami returning to the enso circle, a fundamental motif of Japanese calligraphy that symbolises the void, unity and infinity in Zen Buddhism. Using his recurring motif, the skulls, to meticulously cover most of the background, the present example of his enso painting results from a calm and spiritual approach. Traditionally hand-drawn and traced with a brush in an uninhibited single gesture, spontaneous yet controlled, the circle expresses a moment to free the mind and let the body create. Once the enso is drawn, one does not change it – it is truly a testament to the evolving character of Murakami, transcending traditional forms and breathes new life into the spiritual practice that comes with it.




    Left: Ryoryosai Koshuku, Enso (Hanging Scroll), c. 17-18th century, as part of the collection of the Herbert F. Johnson Museum at Cornell University

    Right: the present work


    • Provenance

      Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
      Private Collection, Los Angeles
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • 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


Ensō: Memento Mori Red on Blue

signed, inscribed and dated 'TAKASHI 2015 O' on the reverse
acrylic on canvas mounted on aluminum frame
100 x 100 cm. (39 3/8 x 39 3/8 in.)
Executed in 2015.

Full Cataloguing

HK$1,500,000 - 2,500,000 

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+852 2318 2027

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 21 June 2022