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  • Provenance

    Pinksummer, Genoa

  • Exhibited

    Genoa, Pinksummer and Newsantandrea, Murakami and Manetas, 19 February – March 2000

  • Catalogue Essay

    “An artist is a necromancer… an artist is someone who understands the border between this world and that one… Or someone who makes an effort to know it.”- Takashi Murakami

    Artistic oeuvre of Takashi Murakami delves into the crucial significance of the polished nonsense and meaninglessness of contemporary culture. Reacting to the current consumer’s hearty appetite for the next big thing, he elevates his manufactured products to an artistic level, the ultimate indulgence for an eager audience. Thought of as a lightning rod in the contemporary art world, Murakami creates a variety of valences between high and low, ancient and modern, and the orient and the occident. Merging conventional Japanese painting styles with modern Western techniques, Murakami creates work “with no meaning”, which resonates loudly with a Japanese audience that devours similar images in “manga” and “anime”. Murakami created his own registered character, Mr. DOB, in 1993 in an efort to manifest an image that would be quintessentially Japanese. Initially a simple, jovial mouse with a big head on a small body that is seemingly derived from an amalgamation of eastern and western animations, Mr. DOB has since been augmented into countless transformations.

    In Born to Kill!, 1997, Mr. DOB seems to have melted, morphed, and multiplied. It is as if one of Murakami’s Mr. DOB inflatables has been deformed and pushed against a window, its features now restructured into an enigmatic tangle. Murakami’s idiosyncratic character is still easily recognizable, despite the changes in form and personality. Characteristic of Murakami’s pop-infused “superflat” style, the present lot displays a schizophrenic realization of space. The letters “D” and “B” in white flank the face that is shaped like an “O”, spelling out “DOB” upside-down amongst the corporal remains of the animated figure. Whimsical smiles are met with devious grins, while bright eyes have abandoned their anatomical function on the face to participate in a fluid medley of line and colour. Rendered in bright on a fat surface, Born to Kill! is vibrant and inviting, fantastically exhibiting how Murakami has generated a universal infatuation with the buoyant and lighthearted Mr. DOB.

    ©2003 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved

  • Artist Biography

    Takashi Murakami

    Japanese • 1962

    Best known for his contemporary combination of fine art and pop culture, Takashi Murakami is one of the most acclaimed postwar Asian artists. Born in 1962, Murakami studied at Tokyo University of the Arts to train as an animator, but ultimately specialized and earned a Ph.D. in Nihonga, the academic style of traditional Japanese painting. Employing a bold graphic style infused with Japanese culture that has become widely recognizable, Murakami rose to fame in the 1990s for coining the term “Superflat.” Relating the flattened space of Japanese graphic art to the conflation of art and commerce in consumer culture, his Superflat theory bore into the eponymous postmodern art movement that has inspired an entire generation of contemporary Japanese artists. Creating supercharged, cartoon-like paintings and sculptures, the artist plays on the familiar aesthetic of anime and manga, rendering works that shatter the visual dichotomies between high and low art. Since 2002, Murakami has done numerous collaborations with various brands and celebrities including Louis Vuitton, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, and Google.

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Born to kill! - M. Matsubara

acrylic on canvas on board
64.7 x 50.2 cm. (25 1/2 x 19 3/4 in.)
Signed, titled, dated 'Takashi 97 Born to Kill! M. Matsubara' on the reverse.

£80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for £96,100

Contact Specialist
Henry Highley
Head of Sale
[email protected]
+ 44 20 7318 4061

Contemporary Art Day Sale

London 17 October 2013