1050

Details & Cataloguing

Modern and Contemporary Art Evening Sale

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Hong Kong

Murakami Takashi
B. 1962
MISS KO2
signed in English and inscribed with the names of the assistants who contributed to the execution of the work
fiberglass, iron, synthetic resin, oil paint and acrylic
182.9 (H) by 63.5 by 82.6 cm; 72 (H) by 25 by 32½ in.
executed in 1997
edition: 3/3 (this work is from an edition of 3 plus one artist's proof)
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Provenance

Marianne Boesky, New York
Private Collection
Phillips de Pury & Company, 8 November 2010, lot 10
Private Collection, New York
Acquired by the present owner from the above

Exhibited

Another example exhibited and illustrated:

US, New York, Feature, Murakami: Hiropon, Project ko2, February to March 1997
Japan, Tokyo, Big Sight, Wonder Festival '98, January 1998
US, Annandale-on-Hudson, Center for Curatorial Studies Museum, Takashi Murakami The Meaning of the Nonsense of the Meaning, June to September 1999, pp. 38, 58 and 60, pl. 15
Japan, Tokyo, Museum of Contemporary Art of Tokyo, TAKASHI MURAKAMI: summon monsters? open the door? heal? or die?, 25 August to 4 November, 2001, unpaginated
US, Los Angeles, The Museum of Contemporary Art, c Murakami, 29 October, 2007 to 11 February, 2008, p. 69
US, New York, Brooklyn Museum of Art, 5 April to 13 July, 2008; Spain, Bilbao, Guggenheim Museum, 17 February to 31 May, 2009, pp. 83–85 
France, Paris, Chateau de Versailles, Murakami Versailles, 14 September to 12 December, 2010, pp. 92-99
South Korea, Seoul, LATEAU, Samsung Museum of Art, Takashi in Superflat Wonderland, 7 July to 8 December, 2013, pp. 36-39

Literature

Another example illustrated:

G. Molinari, Takashi Murakami, Flash Art, March/April 1998, p. 106
Wonder festival '98, Design Plex, March 1998, p. 28
M. Asano, The Readymade Hall of Fame, Monthly Model Graphix, April 1998, p. 43 – 49
M. Matsui, Takashi Murakami, Index, November 1998, p. 49
K. Itoi, Pop Goes the Artist, Newsweek, Summer 2001 (Special Issue), p. 86
Takashi Murakami Kaikai Kiki, Fondation Cartier pour l';Art Contemporain, Paris, France, 2002, p. 77
J. Roberts, Magic Mushrooms, Frieze, October 2002, p. 68
J. Huckbody, Shooting from the hip, i-D Magazine, February 2003, p. 81
N. Ratnam, i-D Magazine, February 2003, p. 86
A. Browne, When Takashi Met Marc, V, Issue 22, March - April 2003
M. Naves, Warhol, Porn and Vuitton, The New York Observer, April 15, 2008
Lai Yu-fu, Special Feature: Takashi Murakami, Bijutsu Techo and Big Art Press, Taipei, Taiwan, 2010, p. 18


Catalogue Note

The Twentieth Century Provocateur
Murakami Takashi

One of Murakami Takashi’s most recognized characters, Miss Ko2 (Lot 1050) comes to life in an iconic full-scale sculpture that demonstrates the artist’s consummate fusion of contemporary Japanese pop aesthetic and Western ideals of beauty. The statuesque sex symbol was exhibited, in all its doe-eyed, full-bosomed glory, at the Palace of Versailles in Paris in 2009—testament to the era-defining power of Murakami’s irreverently provocative oeuvre that merged high and low art and forged a revolutionary “Superflat” philosophy. The voluptuous waitress is the first of Murakami’s sculptures to embody a life-sized version of the figurines of otaku, a subculture obsessed with the sci-fi and fantasy worlds of anime and manga, and heralded the artist’s internationally celebrated sculptures such as Hiropon and My Lonesome Cowboy. The last of three editions, and exhibited on multiple prominent occasions around the world, the cosmopolitan Miss Ko2 carries extraordinary historical and cultural currency and positions at the very apex of the ubiquitous Murakami iconography.

Meaning child, young woman, or geisha, the Japanese word ko is also associated with a restaurant server. Accordingly, Miss Ko2 dons a uniform reminiscent of that of the waitresses at the Anna Miller restaurant chain in Tokyo, a popular hangout in the otaku scene that employs chesty waitresses in skimpy costumes—a Japanese version of the Hooters chain in America. A widely popular choice in cosplay, the Anna Miller uniform is representative of Japanese anime and manga which in turn reflects the fetished combination of prepubescent innocence and blatant sexuality. Rendered in a high level of sculptural detail, Miss Ko2 exudes a charged hyper-sexuality combined with an obvious plastic artificiality that exemplifies the ancient Japanese ideal of woman as doll or puppet. Miss Ko2’s rosy skin, emphasized luminous eyes and enlarged bosom all glow with an unnatural saturated vibrancy, confronting the viewer head-on with his or her own voyeuristic gaze. At once symbol and humanoid, evoking desire, self-introspection, and humour, the current lot implicates not just Japanese contemporary culture but the entire world— “embod[ying] interests that extend far beyond Japan. It’s a blend of fantasy and apocalypse and innocence. It’s all the disparate elements combined that speak to the moment”.1

Originally trained in the traditional Japanese art of nihonga, Murakami’s wholly contemporary aesthetic moves seamlessly amongst diverse roles as artist, producer, theorist, curator, designer, businessman and celebrity, rendering him an unprecedented phenomenon in the global cultural scene. His works draw on everything from anime and manga to Buddhist forms and iconography to Pop and Abstract Expressionism, while his highly organized production methods resemble that of Andy Warhol’s Factory in its replication of modern business models. With his numerous collaborations with luxury brands, Murakami’s hybridized art not only put Japanese otaku onto the map of the contemporary world but used it to reference and embody the overwhelming phenomenon of cultural collisions occurring all over the world. As William Gibson commented, “The otaku, the passionate obsessive, the information age’s embodiment of the connoisseur … seems a natural crossover figure in today’s interface of [Western] and Japanese cultures. There is something profoundly post-national about it, extra-geographic. We are all curators, in the post-modern world, whether we want to be or not.”2

1 Arthur Lubow, "The Murakami Method", in The New York Times Magazine, 2005
2 William Gibson, “Modern Boys and Mobile Girls,” The Observer, April 1, 2001, p. 8

Modern and Contemporary Art Evening Sale

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Hong Kong