Takashi Murakami - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in Association with Poly Auction Hong Kong Sunday, November 28, 2021 | Phillips

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  • “The ensō 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 subject of the present lot is one of the most famous motifs in Zen painting, the ensō (‘circle’) that symbolises emptiness, unity and infinity in Zen Buddhism. Murakami has also painted the great figures of Zen Buddhism: Daruma the Great, the founder of Zen; the severed hand of the monk Eka (Huike), a sacrifice to his master Daruma (Bodhidharma) whom he later succeeded; and The 500 Arhats, a 100-meter long painting representing the 500 wise followers of Buddha who attained enlightenment by overcoming their greed, hatred and delusions, and destroyed their karmic residue from previous lives.


    Paying true homage to Japanese tradition, the ensō paintings are the result of an artistic and spiritual epiphany for the artist. The ensō is the prerequisite to every act of creation, a moment when the mind is free to let the body create, and can result only from quiet and persistent spiritual practice. Traditionally traced in one fluid, masterful stroke of the brush, painting the ensō is not for the timid of heart or mind. Murakami executes the ensō in his unique style, using spray paint over his signature accumulations of flowers and skulls.

    “In any case, the important thing in art is how you express your reality; it’s crucial to accurately depict the influences you have received in life through various methods and grammars of art.” — Takashi Murakami

    • Provenance

      Kaikai Kiki Gallery, Taipei
      Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2015

    • Exhibited

      Tokyo, Galerie Perrotin & Kaikai Kiki Gallery, Takashi Murakami: Ensō, 31 October – 21 November 2015

    • 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: In the Fog

signed and dated 'Takashi 2015' on the overlap
acrylic on canvas mounted on aluminium frame
100 x 100 cm. (39 3/8 x 39 3/8 in.)
Painted in 2015.

Full Cataloguing

HK$1,500,000 - 2,500,000 

Sold for HK$2,394,000

Contact Specialist

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

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in Association with Poly Auction

Hong Kong Auction 29 November 2021