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

And then, and then and then and then and then

Details
Takashi Murakami (b. 1962)
And then, and then and then and then and then
signed and dated '1996 TAKASHI' (on the reverse)
acrylic on canvas mounted on panel
39 3/8 x 39 3/8 in. (100 x 100 cm.)
Painted in 1996.
Provenance
Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo
Private collection, Japan
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Exhibited
Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Takashi Murakami: Summon Monsters? Open the Door? Heal? Or Die?, August-November 2001, n.p., no. 17 (illustrated).

Brought to you by

Sara Friedlander
Sara Friedlander

Lot Essay

Courtesy Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo
(c)1996 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Throughout his career, Takashi Murakami has created works that have the effect of a visual wonderland. His art encompasses many influences: traditional and new Japanese culture combined with contemporary technology and Western ideas that, together, are a new concept on its own.

Firstly, Murakami draws heavily from one of the most traditional Asian painting techniques, nihonga, in which the artist has a PhD. 'Nihonga' describes the methods used for painting in Japan for the past thousand years: water based paints from natural pigments on paper which can be stand-alone paintings or used on large screens. The result is an extremely flat surface and this did not escape the artist. When presenting his contemporary works to one of his gallerists in Los Angeles, Murakami's work was described enthusiastically, "How about this one? It's super flat, super high quality, and super clean!" (D. Hebdige in P. Schimml (c) Murakami, Los Angeles, 2008, p. 30). With this, the artist continued on to develop his Superflat series, which exaggerates the solid planes of bright, poppy color within his canvases and prints. In this early work, though, the viewer is exposed to Murakami's first experimentations of combining contemporary styles with Nihonga; this image can even be imagined as a
large metallic screen.

The other very unique aspect of the present lot is Mr. DOB. This character, described by the artist as his own alter ego, is found in paintings, sculptures and films throughout his oeuvre. Based on the anime comics that are popular with Japanese youth, DOB here makes an appearance that is playfully similar to one of the United States most popular animated icons, Mickey Mouse. In the same way that Andy Warhol famously lifted everyday objects to highbrow artworks, so Murakami elevates themes of animated characters and mass consumption to timeless traditions. Uniting the two seems only to solidify his stance as a visionary; he forces one to see the new through the lens of the traditional and the old through the lens of the contemporary.

"Takashi Murakami's Pop-infused art portrays Japan's contemporary culture as a hyperconsumer realm that appears so familiar to Americans and yet is steeped in ancient traditions His work so perfectly mimics consumer obsessions that it embodies all the ambiguities and contradictions inherent in those tropes. But, as Murakami has stated, he is less interested in revealing media strategies than are other artists of his generation. With his uncanny ability to mirror his culture he is more the Japanese equivalent of Andy Warhol than someone intent on critiquing things"
(A. Cruz, "DOB in the land of OTAKU," Takashi Murakami: The Meaning of the Nonsense of the Meaning, exh. cat., New York, 1999, p. 14).

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