• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2605

    Asian Contemporary Art (Day Sale)

    25 May 2008, Hong Kong

  • Lot 398


    Price Realised  


    (Born in 1969)
    New York Ferry Terminal (Blue)
    acrylic on FRP
    134.6 x 175.2 x 99 cm. (53 x 69 x 39 in.)
    edition 2/5
    Executed in 2004

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    Taking his name from a national baseball star (Shigeo Nagashima alias "Mister"), Mr. is known as a Japanese manga artist, as well as a performance and video artist. He first made his impression in the contemporary art scene with a collection of drawings of anime-style girl characters using the backs of shopping receipts he had gathered from his day-to-day purchases. As the protege of Takashi Murakami and later as a vital member of Kaikai Kiki, his manga inspired drawings, paintings and large scale sculptures quickly became widely known and praised.

    Also known as a performance artist, Mr. gives spontaneous performances at events related to Kaikai Kiki. His video work 'Ours London' captures one of his signature performance pieces, the sword performance. Four of Mr.'s anime-inspired sculptural pieces were installed in Issey Miyake's Aoyama boutique in Tokyo for Christmas (2004). As his work is character driven, he created a green sponge-like character called Toshihiko Yokohama which was adopted by the pop band Kicell for their album design.

    His works display a cartoon world of irresistibly cute characters in their tiny world, on the one hand, while referencing the blending of a Lolita complex and Otanaku Culture on the other hand. Portraying these large-eyed, innocent cartoon characters in a sexual context, Mr. not only explores the fascination of Japan's comic industry with this phenomena, but also expresses his personal cultural commentary.

    In his large scale acrylic on canvas work, V (Lot 528), he applies flat color fields to construct his characters and star-illuminated cityscape background. The greater part of the canvas is dedicated to the portrait of a cute young girl, depicted in a half profile . She smiles a wide smile, her animated happiness indicated by two pink spots on both sides of her cheeks. Her bright pink hair is pinned back with clips, the colors of which reappear in her outfit, curious scarf, accessories as well as her eyes. These colors create a sharp contrast to the pastel colored face which is a basic composition of geometrical shapes. Only at a closer look do the bodiless heads, creatures and nude characters become apparent, giving the scene a sense of obscurity. As suggested by the inexpressive title, Mr.'s work leaves room for ambiguous interpretations.

    New York Ferry Terminal (blue) (Lot 398) is the artist's innovative and futuristic interpretation of a large scale sculpture, made of acrylic on FRP. The sculpture is the bodiless head of a young girl. From her tiny snub nose to her arched hair, her head is a constellation of smoothly merging parts. Her pigtailed blue hair rests on the ground, balancing the round head like to legs. The blue of her hair contrasts the white face that, in terms of her face composition, is similar to the girl in V. However, her bright blue eyes show a delicately drawn tiny world within them. The dominance of the color blue is also a distinguishing aspect between sculpture and painting, as it is not as vibrant. And unlike V, this title does not seem to have an underlying meaning - but who knows?