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

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  • “When I considered what is uniquely mine, I realised I wanted to take everything I was raised with and mix it all up and make something completely new.” — Tomokazu Matsuyama

    Although born in Tokyo, Japan, Tomokazu Matsuyama considers himself a modern artistwho happens to be Japanese, rather than a Japanese artist. Having lived in Los Angeles, New York, London, Tokyo and Takayama, Matsuyama has long been interested in the dichotomy between his Japanese and American identities. His art thus attempts to find common threads between bipolar aesthetics such as Western and Eastern, ornamental and conceptual, traditional and contemporary, resulting in an alchemical explosion of different cultures.



    The artist with lot 146 featured on the left
    © Tomokazu Matsuyama


    Matsuyama’s hybrid works capture his personal experience navigating contemporary urban landscapes through his unique visual vocabulary, taking inspiration from traditional Japanese art, Disney animations, Western design sensibilities and colour tones, and Japanese colour schemes. Through the combination of a huge variety of highly specific, local visual dialects, Matsuyama’s work fosters an international visual dialogue, while also reflecting the chaos of our highly globalised times as different elements struggle for singular dominance within the work. It is truly a 'reckoning' between 'the familiar local and the familiar global'i.


    Installation view of the artist’s solo exhibition, Tomokazu Matsuyama: Accountable Nature, at the Long Museum, Shanghai, 2020-2021 


    Holy Urine also shows an intermingling of cultures, with its three protagonists donning garments straight from Edo Japan. The black‐haired boy cupping the liquid is juxtaposed with the oblivious figures seated above, adding a sprinkling of social commentary in addition to Matsuyama’s particular brand of intercultural dialogue. The very neon liquid spilling from the tea kettle mirrors the alchemy of his own work, his reinvention of the traditional churning out pop and graffiti sensibilities aligned with a Japanese aesthetic lineage.


    Matsuyama has had numerous exhibitions worldwide including the Japan Society, New York; the Katzen Arts Center at American University, Washington D.C., and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. A massive 2014 painting, You Need to Come Closer, has recently been acquired by LACMA. Since 2019, Matsuyama has engaged in a series of public works, from murals in The Bowery, New York, and Beverly Hills, California, to two monumental public sculptures unveiled in Tokyo in July 2020. His most recent solo exhibition has travelled to the Long Museum’s Shanghai and Chongqing spaces, and he has an upcoming solo show at Zidoun‐Bossuyt Gallery, Luxembourg in 2022. Moreover, his market has been heating up, with his top three auction records set within the last year.


     How Tomokazu Matsuyama Appropriates Images to Create Fine Art



    i Solveig Parrango, 'Discover Brooklyn-based Japanese artist, Tomokazu Matsuyama', BEAST, 2 March 2016, online

    • Provenance

      Guy Hepner, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2015

    • Exhibited

      San Francisco, Gallery Wendi Norris, Tomokazu Matsuyama: The Future is Always Bright, 3 May - 30 June 2012



Holy Urine

signed, inscribed and dated '2012.4 Tomokazu Matsuyama [in English and Kanji] NYC' on the reverse
acrylic on canvas
228.6 x 142.2 cm. (90 x 55 7/8 in.)
Painted in April 2012.

Full Cataloguing

HK$200,000 - 300,000 

Sold for HK$1,008,000

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