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After 5 years away, Mr. touches down in Paris

From January 20 to March 2, the Japanese multidisciplinary artist turns Galerie Perrotin into his playground

 After 5 years away, Mr. touches down in Paris From January 20 to March 2, the Japanese multidisciplinary artist turns Galerie Perrotin into his playground

After a five-year wait, Mr. makes his return to Galerie Perrotin with his much-anticipated exhibition, "Invoke It and a Flower Shall Blossom." Marking his seventh appearance at the gallery and the fourth in Paris, this new adventure promises to defy expectations, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in a rich, captivating, complex, and multidimensional universe meticulously crafted by the artist. If you're not yet familiar with the artist and his work, here's everything you need to know to catch up before the exhibition launches this Saturday, January 20.

Born in 1969 in Cupa, Japan, Mr., alias Masakatsu Iwamoto, rose to artistic fame in the 1990s. After graduating from the fine arts department of the Sokei Art School in Tokyo, he took a decisive turn by becoming the assistant to Takashi Murakami. It was during this time that he adopted the name Mr. in homage to Shigeo Nagashima, the famous baseball player nicknamed Mister Giants. The beginnings of his global fame took root in 2008 at Galerie Perrotin, marking a major turning point with the exhibition "Nobody Dies." This step laid the foundation for his worldwide recognition. In 2014, Mr. reached a significant milestone with his first solo exhibition in the United States, "Live On: Mr.’s Japanese Neo-Pop." A memorable exhibition punctuated by a work inspired by the March 2011 tsunami. That year, his collaboration with the renowned singer Pharrell Williams for the "It Girl" music video solidified Mr.'s fame while shedding new light on his artistic work. Five years later, another successful collaboration with the artistic director of Louis Vuitton resulted in the exhibition "A Call to Action" at the Guimet Museum in Paris. This step not only illustrates the flourishing continuity of his career but also testifies to his ability to evolve and expand his artistic influence over the years.

Mr.'s work is part of the Superflat artistic movement, where high and low forms of contemporary expression intersect. He explores the Japanese subculture of "kawaii" or Otaku, delving into the obsession with adolescence, manga, anime, and video games. In his earlier works, Mr. challenged the hypersexualized representation of young women, known in Japan as "lolicon." However, after the tragic events of 2011 in Tohoku, his artistic expression took a turn, evolving towards grittier and more abstract works, a return to the roots inspired by Arte Povera, thus exploring poignant themes of destruction. His artistic journey is reflected in the diversity of his works. His sculptures and paintings often depict children and teenagers, characterized by huge eyes, small mouths, and small noses, imbued with the Kawaii style unique to Japanese manga. Inspired by his wanderings through the streets of Tokyo, the artist addresses social, environmental, and technology-related themes through his art. These creations offer a unique blend of the Otaku aesthetic and contemporary concerns, capturing the essence of Japanese urban culture while inviting deep reflection on the challenges of our modern society.

With "Invoke It and a Flower Shall Blossom," Galerie Perrotin and Mr. once again join forces to immerse us in the rich and complex universe of the artist, unveiling a new series of paintings, shaped canvases, sculptures, and works on paper. Deeply rooted in Japanese adolescent cultures, the exhibition skillfully reflects the legacy of the Superflat movement, merging the aesthetics of anime, video games, and manga with Buddhist iconography and the two-dimensionality of ancient masters. As an ambassador of Otaku, Mr., through his works, explores the culture of cosplay and lolicon, while discreetly integrating the codes of urban subcultures, including graffiti writing. Through visual accumulations and references to waste, the artist accurately evokes melancholy and offers a subtle critique of consumerist society, providing a captivating glimpse into the complexity of the Japanese soul and the multiple facets of contemporary creation. An offering that will delight manga culture enthusiasts and also appeal to newcomers.