Auction | China Guardian (HK) Auctions Co., Ltd.
2024 Spring Auctions > Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art
Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art

Mr. (b.1969)
Snow Bunny(Painted in 2008)

Acrylic on canvas

70 × 49 cm. 27 1/2 × 19 1/4 in.

Signed in English and dated on the reverse

2012, Mr. ART BOOK IKITEIKU MOE MICHI YUKABA, Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd., Tokyo, p.100
Important Private Collection, Asia

A Gift of Innocence among the White Snow
Mr.’s Winter Beauty

"Moe is an ultimate fantasy."

Born in Japan in 1969, Mr. grew up immersed in anime and idol culture. After graduating from the Fine Arts Department of the Sokei Art School in Tokyo in 1996, having been appreciated by Takashi Murakami, he became one of the leading members of the Super Flat Movement. Taking as his motif the otaku culture he has loved since childhood, Mr. forms a unique personal style combining Japanese manga and anime, the flatness of traditional Ukiyo-e, and Western pop Art. He received recognition from art lovers across the world for dissolving the boundaries between popular culture and high art. Mr. has held solo exhibitions at major institutions such as the Guimet Museum in Paris, the Seattle Art Museum, and the How Art Museum in Shanghai. Since 2016, he collaborated with well-known American singers such as Pharrell Williams and The Weeknd to launch group exhibitions, dolls, and fashion brands, gaining him worldwide popularity.

2008 marked the beginning of the golden age of Mr.’s creativity. That year, he established a personal studio and created ten works featuring girls in winter. Snow Bunny, which debuted in this auction, is an excellent representative of the series and a perfect expression of the moe quality of Japanese femininity.

"A Snow Year, a Rich Year"

In Japanese culture, the "bunny" is a much-loved symbol of growth, abundance, and prosperity. Making snow bunnies has been a popular activity since the Edo period and commonly appears in Ukiyo-e and world-famous anime works. In the centre of the work, a girl with apple-green hair holds a snow bunny under falling snow. The snow bunny has red marble for its eyes and green bamboo leaves as ears, pointing to the traditional Japanese winter game. Mr. lays out a meticulous scene of a snow-covered town, setting off a dreamy, peaceful, snowy winter atmosphere with a trail of footprints and a few car tracks. The bright colours of the girl’s clothes create a strong contrast with the background, like a spring sprouting from the winter land. Combined with the snow bunny in the girl’s hand, which symbolizes fortune and vitality, the colours convey the powerful life energy embedded in the bleak scene, implying that the snow is an auspicious sign for a prosperous new year.

Silent Snow and the Fluttering Heart

Mr.’s girls are captivating. In Snow Bunny, the girl is like a character from his imagination. Her innocent eyes and therapeutic smile reflect the Lolita complex in Japanese otaku culture. The unique gold and red colours in her eyes and the enormous pink ribbon on her head add a layer of magic that transcends reality, subtly echoing the profound influence that the popular 1990s Japanese manga, Hime-chan’s Ribbon, had on Mr. With a sweet, shy blush, her facial expression and the snow bunny that expresses sincere feelings are also reminiscent of the heart-throbbing love between the male and female manga protagonists in their student years. The girl’s cute and exquisite clothes reflect Mr.’s incredible attention to detail and gentle mind, which allow the characters in his paintings to appear life-like, evoking the youthful memories of the viewer.

"I feature female characters because I want to provide them with power and strength for being in society. In Japan, women can be stronger than men, which is one of the motivations that keeps me going," shared Mr. on taking young girls as his subjects. He not only reflects the otaku culture in his works but also creates lovely characters with flesh and blood and unique personalities. They exude an innocence so powerful that one cannot but care about and sympathize with them. His works are like a paradise that showcases the power of imagination, inspiring and healing people from their setbacks and frustrations in the real world.

Price estimate:
HKD: 500,000 –800,000
USD: 63,900 - 102,200

Auction Result:
HKD: 1,008,000



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