Mukai's paintings invite participation by the viewers. By using the most basic tones of black and white, he highlights his paintings' forms and structures. In contrast with flat, two-dimensional works, these may require the viewers to look at them from above or from the side. Their bodies and their eyes must readjust and move in response to Mukai's artworks, in a mode of viewing similar to what is required for another of his works of the same period, Signs and Light (Fig. 1).
SPACE IN A MICRO-LATTICEWORK
In Work (Lot 80), spaces on the canvas have been divided into segments of equal sizes by steel wire or fine string, resulting in a pictorial depth of rich orderliness. The boundaries that resulted from their connections evoke the traditional building styles found in Japanese shrines (Fig. 2), in particular the feel of the layered bamboo and wood frameworks of their roofs and the unique appeal of the exquisite Japanese craftsmanship implicit in them. Each of the compartments in this honeycomb-like structure is an individual receptacle for space; with his simple and childlike lines. Mukai has filled up an imaginative mental space in each of these individual receptacles. From a macro perspective, the receptacles, each with their own individual detail, become organized into a larger space with an even more complex nature. In 1969, Mukai burned some of his framed works, implying that he was leaving behind the restrictions of rectangular frames. In Work No. 52 (Lot 94), the frame's borders have morphed into the symbolic shape of the numeric figure eight. The symbols are ordered in such a way that they develop from grid patterns that are clearly arranged either horizontally or vertically into pleasingly spaced lines that arc and slant, projecting their own sense of order and quiet power.