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 Murakami Takashi's studio, the style of his works has evolved from Murakami's influence - the coating of vibrant colors, the "superflat" structure, the thematization 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 theo 1960s, fused commercial and ordinary elements with high art practices. This auction highlights two of MR.'s artworks, My Toshihiko (Lot 1674) and End of the Year Party 21 Days (Lot 1678). Among one of the artist's earliest works, End of the Year Party 21 Days is signed under his given name instead of the alias, "MR." Early as it is, the work embodies the expressive features of anime, and the use of a young girl's figures, aspects that would continue to dominate his later sculptures. My Toshihiko, on the other hand, 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 sh?jo 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 ukiyoe. 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 fairy-tale, 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. Implicitly sexual, the work also exemplifies the generally sexualized works of MR., who is distinct in his way of blending the adolescent fancy with the innocent manga world, rendering it a near-satire of the voyeurism of Japanese otaku culture. The planar work of MR. therefore incarnates a more intricate reflection, and is sometimes regarded as a door to the private fantasy world of the artist.