Takashi Murakami - New Now Hong Kong Friday, March 29, 2024 | Phillips
  • Hailed as the ‘Warhol of Japan’, Takashi Murakami's artwork often evokes a feeling of a lightning bolt of modern Tokyo life—vivid, frenetic, and boldly contemporary. The present lot Untitled, features a sea of red with a congregation of skulls, showcasing Murakami's distinctive pulse of pop culture that has made him a formidable name in the contemporary art world.


    Untitled  embodies Murakami’s signature style: it is a flat, yet paradoxically deep canvas where each skull is tinged with the playful edge of Japan's kawaii culture. It's as if Murakami dares us to find the joy in the macabre, to see life in death, to confront our fears with a smile. The red backdrop is powerful and emotive, invoking energy, passion, and a hint of danger, making it a canvas that refuses to be ignored. Against this, the skulls pop—almost as if they're challenging the viewer to look them in the eye sockets and find their meaning. It is also a signature Murakami move: taking something infused with deep-seated cultural connotations and flipping it into something entirely new.


    Detail of the present lot


    The skulls, with their soft edges and varying expressions and directions, create a rhythm across the deep red, a colour that can signify both life and death, intensity and celebration. It's a balancing act between the playful and the profound, the ephemeral and the eternal.


    This painting is not just a remarkable example of Murakami's artistic prowess, it is a complex commentary on the cyclical nature of life and the omnipresence of death in our daily existence. It reflects a synthesis of Murakami's Superflat aesthetic and his deep engagement with socio-cultural issues that have shaped modern Japan. This piece is a profound connection to the artist's overarching narrative—a narrative that continues to define and expand the parameters of contemporary art.


    He has held a solo exhibition Takashi Murakami: Unfamiliar People — Swelling of Monsterized Human Ego at Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, September 2023 - February 2024. Most recently, there is a large-scale solo exhibition of works by Murakami at Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art in celebration of its 90th anniversary. This marks his first large-scale solo exhibition in Japan in eight years.

    • Provenance

      Galerie Perrotin
      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



signed and dated ’Takasm 2016' on the overlap
acrylic on canvas mounted on aluminium frame
141 x 120 cm. (55 1/2 x 47 1/4 in.)
Executed in 2016.

Full Cataloguing

HK$800,000 - 1,200,000 

Sold for HK$762,000

Contact Specialist

Angela Tian
Associate Specialist, Head of New Now Sale
20th Century & Contemporary Art, Hong Kong
+852 2318 2058

New Now

Hong Kong Auction 29 March 2024