Takashi Murakami - Contemporary Art Day Sale New York Thursday, November 15, 2012 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo
    Blum & Poe, Los Angeles

  • Exhibited

    Los Angeles, Blum & Poe, Takashi Murakami, July 17 — August 16, 1997
    New York, Bard College Curatorial Studies Museum, The Meaning of the Nonsense of the Meaning, June 25 – September 12th, 1999

  • Catalogue Essay

    In an effort to brand his own identity, artist Takashi Murakami created the alter ego and signature character, Mr. DOB, explaining “DOB is a self-portrait of the Japanese people… He is cute but has no meaning and understands nothing of life, sex, or reality.” (M. DiPietro, “Takashi Murakami at the Parco Gallery”, Assembly Language, 1999). With Mr. DOB, Murakami sought to create an icon, which, while authentically Japanese, would also have universal appeal. The character is depicted with a circular head and two ‘Mickey Mouse-like’ ears; the letter D is inscribed on his left ear and the letter B on the right ear. The face is O-shaped, thus making his name, DOB, legible. The name DOB is derived from the famous Japanese gag Dobojite dobojite (Why? Why?) from the comic book Inakappe Taisho, and the catchphrase “oshamanbe” by the comedian Toru Yuri. Physically, Murakami drew on elements of a character called Doraemon, a cat-like robot seen from Japanese manga and anime. Just as Murakami’s understanding of reality and identity developed and changed, his fgure DOB changed too, evolving into the endearing character seen throughout his work and featured in the present lot, Fall in Love, 1995. The present lot depicts this icon illustrated on a very rare medium for the famed artist; a light box. The lovable character is portrayed in a sweet embrace, his friend squeezes him tight, her eyes closed and lips pucker awaiting a supposed kiss. DOB responds with a goofy grin, looking both nervous and jovial all at once. “DOB is always confused,” says Murakami, “and in a daze, like he was drunk or stoned.” (M. DiPietro, “Takashi Murakami at the Parco Gallery”, Assembly Language, 1999). It is this sheer, unadulterated innocence that makes DOB such a popular character and a recurring theme in Murakami’s vast portfolio.

  • 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


Fall in Love

acrylic on Plexiglas light box
diameter: 21 1/2 in. (54.6 cm)

depth: 4 3/4 in. (12.1 cm)

Signed and dated "Takashi '95" on the reverse. This work is number one from an edition of one.

$100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for $116,500

Contemporary Art Day Sale

16 November 2012
New York