(Born in 1962)
Second Mission Project ko2 Megamix
FRP sculpture
61.5 x 73 x 30 cm. (24 1/4 x 28 3/4 x 12 in.)
edition of 200

Lot Essay

The projects produced by Murakami are extensive, the pieces he creates far surpasses what we would conventionally think is possible for one man to create. Largely influenced by the flat Ukiyo-e woodblock prints of the Edo period, many of Murakami's prints are created with such a two-dimensional feel, even many of his works are digitalized prints produced between Tokyo and New York. With the aid of Hiropon factory on opposite ends of the world and multiple artists, Murakami has created a plethora of sculptures, installations, collectibles, luxury goods and prints to constantly engage the general public and critics alike. Over the decades of his career, Murakami has created a new pop art that speaks and references the subculture-obsessed culture of contemporary Japan and spread his works for viewings in major cities across the globe.

In every element of his works, from the flat even application of eclectic colours to the fantastical creatures to the sheer breadth of his oeuvres, Murakami comments on the diverse yet largely foreign influenced culture of Japan. From 727 (1996) (lot 1189) which is created like traditional nihonga but depicts a Mickey Mouse like character called Mr. DOB (1996) to Hiropon (1998) which references a post war narcotic used in Japan, the connection between otaku culture and entertainment is uncannily close. One of his earlier series Polyrhythm (1991) (lot 1126), where a slab of polymer covered or surrounded by toy sized military men was inspired by the idea that many materials used to build purely superficial theme parks also creates vast amounts of non-recyclable waste. In another commentary on the lack of purity and integrity, Murakami's 1999 series Supernova is composed of Technicolor mushrooms, referencing the drug itself and how drugs has infiltrated and strongly influenced musicians today.

In many cases such as Miss Ko2 (lot 1123, lot 1124, lot 1125), we find that Murakami has over exaggerated and explicitly sexualized what is meant to be a waitress. While such uniforms, her kawaii expression and pose is closely associated to Japan, it is difficult to ignore that her physique and blond hair is typically a Caucasian trait. While such sexual figures may previously only seen in manga, Murakami elevates these slightly embarrassing figures into high art, turning "un-cool" otaku culture into cool and financially profitable pieces. The likes of Miss Ko2 are not only high art but also found daily on the streets of Japan; what was considered otaku is now incorporated into fashion and real Japanese culture. Interestingly, this fashion and style taken for granted in Japan originated from an imported phenonema like Disney, Mr. DOB.

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