This colorful sculpture is the result of the longtime collaboration between the Japanese Superflat artist Takashi Murakami and American musician Pharrell Williams.
“The Simple Things” depicts the Japanese artist’s signature character Mr. DOB, which is a combination of traditional Japanese folklore monsters and characters in contemporary fiction culture.
Mr. DOB is here represented with its mouth wide open, inside of which are seven handpicked objects that Williams uses on a daily basis.
Among them are a can of Pepsi, a cupcake, Johnson’s baby lotion, Heinz Tomato Ketchup, a bag of Doritos chips, a Trojan Magnum condom and a Billionaire Boys Club sneaker.
These everyday consumer objects, lit up by 14 spotlights inside of Mr. DOB’s mouth, were crafted out of 26,000 gemstones and diamonds by fine jeweler Jacob & Co.
“A bejeweled can of Pepsi draws our attention in a way that a regular soda can would not, challenging us to reconsider the value of everyday joys and pleasures,” Asia Chiao, who is the associate specialist of Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art at Christie’s Hong Kong, noted in a statement.
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“The Simple Things” made its debut at the 2009 Miami Basel, where it reportedly sold for around $2 million.
The sculpture will go under the hammer next November for the first time in ten years, with Christie’s estimating that it will fetch between HD$20 million and 30 million (around S$3.6 million and 5.2 million).
Although “The Simple Things” has been included in numerous international exhibitions, its pre-sale high estimate is far from Murakami’s current auction record of US$15.2 million set in 2008 for “My Lonesome Cowboy.”
The collaborative sculpture will be offered during Christie’s new Hi-Lite evening sale, alongside works by contemporary artists such as Yoshitomo Nara, Alex Israel, Nicolas Party and Ronald Ventura.
This new auction, which was inspired by the success of the house’s previous ICONOCLAST sale, aims to attract a new generation of millennial art collectors.
“Our aim this season is to present works that challenge the traditional notions of art, and to explore how the boundaries between genres such as Japanese manga, street culture, commercial design and fashion continue to play a pivotal role in how we understand art in the modern-day era,” Evelyn Lin, who is Christie’s head of the 20th century and contemporary art department, said in a statement.
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