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Takashi Murakami (b. 1962)
Takashi Murakami (b. 1962)

DOB Jump

Takashi Murakami (b. 1962)
DOB Jump
signed and dated 'Takashi 99' (on the reverse)
acrylic on canvas mounted on board
47 1/8 x 35 ¼in. (119.6 x 89.6cm.)
Painted in 1999
Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2000.
Berlin, Haus am Waldsee, Yume no ato, was vom Traum blieb... zeitgeno¨ssische Kunst aus Japan, 2000. This exhibition later travelled to Baden-Baden, Staatliche Kunsthalle.

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Lot Essay

‘My aesthetic sense was formed at a young age by what surrounded me: the narrow residential spaces of Japan and the mental escapes from those spaces that took the forms of manga and anime.’ – Takashi Murakami

Painted in 1999, Takashi Murakami’s DOB Jump is an early portrait of the artist’s original cartoon, a Mickey Mouse-like creature names Mr. DOB, who has been subsequently presented in a multitude of forms. In DOB Jump, Mr. DOB hovers in the air against a cherryred background; a zigzag spray follows in his wake. DOB’s name – the letters of which are spelt out across his ears and face – is derived from a nonsensical Japanese phrase invented by the artist to mean ‘why? why?’ DOB inhabits a world ‘where reason and the illogical exist side by side, where everything is fatly juxtaposed and only the surface exists, where opposing contradictions forever reverse, replace each other and merge’ (Y. Minami, ‘takashi murakami strikes back,’ takashi murakami summon monsters? open the door? heal? or die?, exh. cat., Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, 2001, p. 62). Central to the manifold DOB project is Murakami’s belief that Japanese culture as a whole lacks rigorous self-interrogation. This is further underscored by the fact that DOB serves as the artist’s alter ego. Formally inspired by animé and manga as well as Edo-period prints and the Nihonga painting tradition, DOB Jump speaks to Murakami’s own apprehensions and critiques regarding cultural production in Japan. By embracing and remixing local vernacular imagery alongside high art motifs and techniques, he has produced a ‘new species of beauty’ and a distinctly individual Pop art (M. Midori, ‘Toward a Definition of Tokyo Pop: The Classical Transgressions of Takashi Murakami,’ Takashi Murakami: the meaning of the nonsense of the meaning, exh. cat., Centre for Curatorial Studies Museum, Bard College, p. 29). Through what he has termed ‘Super Flat’ style, Murakami endeavours not only to re-present Japanese culture, but also to locate his own often-shifting cultural identity. In DOB Jump, the juxtaposition of the smooth expanse, with the graphic, decorative spray highlights the oscillating position of the Super Flat aesthetic. In the present work, Murakami has proposed a world of converging signs, where chaos and curiosity reign, and meaning is in constant flux.

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