Takashi Murakami invented the character Mr. Oval in response to a request from the fashion designer Issey Miyake, who had asked the artist to use Humpty Dumpty as a model. Murakami combined the Western character of Humpty Dumpty with an Eastern character, Hyakume, (also known as Hundred Eyes), from the author Shigeru Mizuki's children's books. Mr. Oval appears ghostlike and is covered in phosphorescent eyes. He sits in a Buddha-like position on a lotus leaf, a modern-day icon uniting imagery in a character that combines elements of Western and Eastern visual pop culture.
Murakami’s work refers to a variety of cultural, political, social and historical contexts concerning the relationships between high art and popular culture, East and West, contemporary art and traditional Japanese art as well as art and capitalism. Murakami belongs to a generation of artists whose visual vocabulary is steeped in popular culture. Mass produced toys, television, film, pop music, Disney, computer games, animé and manga are all points of reference for his work.
Murakami lives and works in Asaka, Saitama and Brooklyn, New York.
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