KAWS | UNTITLED (KIMPSONS) (Package Painting Series)
H ighly iconic, the present work was created during one of KAWS’ most important career milestones – the creation of his first acrylic paintings on canvases in 2001. Created for the artist’s first solo exhibition in Tokyo in the same year, the very special series featured KAWS’ KIMPSONS hybrid characters with his well-known iconography of X-ed out eyes and puffy crossbones.These first acrylic works, titled THE PACKAGE PAINTING SERIES, mark an important milestone in KAWS’ career due to multiple reasons: not only were they his first canvas works; they were presented in the same kind of plastic blister packaging used by toy manufacturers. Intrigued when he saw Japanese men collecting toys, KAWS was inspired to replicate the mass-produced toy packaging for his canvases, subverting the conventional boundaries between art and mass production.
The present work is thus early evidence of KAWS’ subversive wit and prescient vision: his first official infiltration into the realm of ‘fine’ art was an orchestrated entrance that cleverly negotiated the parameters between painting and product, fine art and commerce, thereby uniting the genres, cultures and subcultures of our times.
These packaged paintings paved the way for KAWS’ larger pieces later in the 2000s, most noticeably, THE KAWS ALBUM which features the whole host of his KIMPSONS characters, which sold for HK$115.9 million at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in April 2019.
K AWS在2001年開始用壓克力彩在畫布上作畫，成就其藝術生涯中無比重要的里程碑，本作的創作時間與這個時期吻合，極具代表意義。KAWS為準備當年首個在東京開辦的個展，特意創作了一個非常特別的系列，系列裡的角色名為「KIMPSONS」，有著廣為人知的KAWS式招牌交叉眼和渾圓的骷髏頭。這些首批壓克力彩作品被命名為「包裝畫」系列，開啟了KAWS事業上的關鍵階段，這是KAWS首次以畫布創作的系列，並以玩具製造商使用的塑膠殼作為包裝。KAWS對日本男性收集玩具的現象感到好奇，靈機一觸之下，決定借自己的畫布作品重現這種量產型的玩具包裝，打破藝術與大量生產產品之間的傳統分野。由此可見，本作是反映KAWS反叛才智和遠見的早期典例：首個幫助他正式躋身「高雅」藝術領域的系列就如一把精心設計的鑰匙，打開繪畫與商品、藝術與商業之間的隔閡，把各個藝術種類及現今世代的文化、次文化融為一體。這些以塑膠包裝的畫為KAWS在千禧年代後期創作更大幅的作品開闢新途，其中最值得留意的是，包含所有KIMPSONS角色的《THE KAWS ALBUM》在2019年4月以1億1,590萬港元在香港蘇富比高價成交。