Takashi Murakami - Contemporary Art Day Sale London Wednesday, October 16, 2013 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York

  • Exhibited

    Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Takashi Murakami - Special Exhibition from the Doron Sebbag Art Collection, ORS Ltd., March - September 2003

  • Catalogue Essay

    “We want to see the newest things. That is because we want to see the future, even if only momentarily. It is the moment in which, even if we don’t completely understand what we have glimpsed, we are nonetheless touched by it. This is what we have come to call art.” - Takashi Murakami

    Since creating Mr. DOB in 1992, Takashi Murakami has transcended his character into an animated celebrity connoting Japanese contemporary culture and symbol of the full verisimilitude of Murakami’s oeuvre. Playing with the strong socio-political significance of nihon-ga within Japanese traditions, Murakami’s work retains the traditions he was formally trained in, together with the reclusive status of Japan in the world of contemporary art. Mr. DOB has appeared in an ongoing series of works, from paintings to balloons to plush toys and watches. In the present lot, Murakami has morphed, multiplied, and distorted Mr. DOB from its more conventional, two-dimensional depiction into an inflatable, multi-eyed, teeth-baring monstrosity, possibly in homage to Jeff Koons’ famous balloon rabbit. House is comprised of a magnificent air and helium balloon, exhibiting the now ubiquitous Mr. DOB. Concurrent and reproduced strands of DNA coalesce, while bubble-like disks float against a fled of colour. The most recognizable motif in the present lot, and in most works of the artist, is the “eye”. The presence of the eyes references the literary character Hyakume, a ghost in a “manga” series, whose name when translated reads, “One Hundred Eyes”. The curved lines in which the eyes are contained are reminiscent of Japanese woodblock prints, while the disfigured character brings to mind the extraordinary creatures that recurrently appeared in ancient Japanese painting. Inspired by Barbara Kruger and Jenny Holzer’s use of text, Murakami has decided to paint the ears of his animated “self-portrait” with the letters “D” and “B”, while the circular physical properties of the character and object represent the “O”. House is a quintessential representation of Murakami’s aesthetic and the concept of Mr. DOB as a detached signifier: a character constantly undergoing a series of metamorphoses and a symbol of all the other artificially assembled characters that retail merchandise. As expressed by the artist himself, Mr. DOB is “walking by himself…the character is very strong” and his significance to Murakami is based on his ability to communicate to his viewers: “(the) audience (doesn’t) need the artist, only the character” (quoted in Takashi Murakami: the meaning of the nonsense of the meaning. New York: Center for Curatorial Studies Museum, Bard College, 1999, p. 17).

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

  • 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




vinyl chloride, balloon, rope, air pumps, voltage converter, plastic tubing
265 x 333 x 261 cm (104 3/8 x 131 1/8 x 102 3/4 in.)
This work is accompanied by a Macquette of "House", 1996, acrylic on paper on styrofoam, 15.9 x 15.9 x 15.9 cm. (6 1/4 x 6 1/4 x 6 1/4 in.) and two certificates of authenticity signed by the artist.

£70,000 - 90,000 Ω

Contact Specialist
Henry Highley
Head of Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4061

Contemporary Art Day Sale

London 17 October 2013