(B. 1969)
Oh, my wallet
signed with artist's signature; signed 'Mr.' in English; dated '2007' (on the stretcher)
acrylic on canvas
52.5 x 45 cm. (20 5/8 x 17 3/4 in.)
Painted in 2007
Private Collection, Asia

Sale room notice
Please note the correct provenance for this work should be Private Collection, Asia and not as stated in the catalogue.

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Lot Essay

In the Japanese contemporary art scene Mr. is an eye-catcher. The renowned artist engages himself in a diverse set of creative practices, ranging from graphic art and design to large sculptures. Once a member of Takashi Murakami's studio, the style of his works has evolved from Murakami's influence - the coating of
vibrant colors, the "superflat" structure, the tematization of Japanese popular culture - leading to the formation of a novel artistic language and aesthetics on par with that of Pop artist Richard Hamilton who, in the 1960s, fused commercial and ordinary elements with high art practices. Mr. work manifests an artistic form clearly indicative of the "superflat" aesthetics. The forms of expression found in popular art, like manga, computer
graphics and animation, are converted into an oil painting. The theme, too, is taken from the everyday scenes that frequently appear in Japanese manga : the typical figure of a manga girl, with her flawless, fair skin and a pair enormous watery eyes, her bedroom decorated with trendy cartoon calendars and movie posters. In this way, Mr. intimates the cultural context of modern Japan, much like a new age kiyoe . The work seems at once a realistic depiction and a surreal fiction: for all the detailed narratives, the sense of the "real" is deprived of by the ultra cartoonish, anime-like representation, the unnatural striking colors, the childish brushstrokes, and all the more, the glowing blush of the girl's cheeks and the white dots over the head of Toshihiko. All these can be found nowhere but in manga. This surreal style transforms the work into a virtual, even a fairytale, world. Patterning after the manga form of expression, the artist foregrounds a luscious visual experience to obliterate the real-world dimensionality and the perception of distance. Any feeling for lyricism or high-minded philosophy is effaced; only the beautiful, optimistic imagination is retained.

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