The much-anticipated exhibition “[email protected] WORLDWIDE TOUR 3” has finally made its way to Hong Kong, marking its first international appearance after a successful debut in Shibuya, Tokyo, in 2021.
Organized by Forward Fashion in collaboration with MEDICOM TOY, the exhibition is presented by Artelli, a new multi-dimensional premium art space opening in Hong Kong. Set to open on March 21, the exhibition will showcase some of the most prestigious collections of [email protected] designed by 100 internationally renowned creators.
Developed by MEDICOM TOY in 2001, [email protected] is a collectible toy that takes its inspiration from the classic Japanese Kokeshi doll, ranging from 70 mm to 1000 mm in size. The toy features a simple design of a bear-like figure with a distinctively shaped head and a body that can be customized with different patterns and designs. Since its inception, [email protected] has become a global phenomenon, attracting collectors and enthusiasts from all over the world.
Over the years, [email protected] has collaborated with many notable artists and brands — including KAWS, Futura, and BAPE — to create unique and limited-edition versions of the collectible toy. The toys' versatility has also made them a staple in the world of art and design, with many contemporary artists using [email protected] as a medium to express their creative vision.
The “[email protected] WORLDWIDE TOUR 3” showcase is a testament to the enduring popularity and significance of [email protected] in the art and design world. Since its inception, the tour has traveled to various cities around the globe, showcasing the latest designs, limited-edition releases, and unique collaborations between [email protected] and leading artists, fashion brands, and designers.
The first edition of the tour was launched in 2009, marking the toy's eighth anniversary. The aim was to bring [email protected] to new audiences and showcase the diverse range of designs and collaborations that have made the toy so beloved. The success of the first tour paved the way for subsequent editions, with the latest tour marking the toy's 22nd anniversary.
For its Hong Kong iteration, “[email protected] WORLDWIDE TOUR 3” is divided into several sections, each featuring different collections and collaborations.
The first section showcases the World Tour [email protected], which features a unique design incorporating a world map with Medicom Toy's iconic bear head logo. This collection was created to celebrate the 20th anniversary of [email protected] and represents the global reach and popularity of the brand.
Another highlight of the exhibition is the Artist [email protected] collection, which includes figures featuring the works by renowned artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, and more, alongside several collaborations with various brands, including Nike, Chanel, and A Bathing Ape.
However, the pièce de résistance of the exhibition is the exclusive collaboration between French painter and graffiti artist Cyril Kongo and Pinel et Pinel, the contemporary French trunks and high-end leather goods design house.
The striking and colorful Kongo [email protected] perfectly capture the artist's distinctive style — sporting a bold and abstract design that plays with the contrast between light and dark, thus creating a visually dynamic and eye-catching effect. The [email protected]'s body is covered in a complex pattern of interlocking shapes and lines, with bright splashes of color that pop against the darker Domino masks.
In addition to the [email protected] displays, there are also interactive elements throughout the exhibition, including photo opportunities with giant-sized [email protected] figures and a customizable [email protected] station where visitors can create their own unique designs.
You might also be interested in: Blossom is awesome: Artist Michael Lau’s “Splendid Park” at Hong Kong’s K11 MUSEA
With its versatility making it an ideal canvas for creative expression, [email protected] has become an influential medium for artists and designers.
New York-based artist KAWS is well known for his collaborations with [email protected], having designed several limited-edition releases. His signature "XX" motif features prominently in his designs, with the iconic symbol appearing on the figure's hands, feet, and chest. The KAWS Companion, a character created by the artist, has become one of the most recognizable [email protected] designs, with its distinctive skull-like face and elongated limbs.
Japanese illustrator Hajime Sorayama and contemporary visual artist Daniel Arsham also collaborated with [email protected] to create a limited-edition 1000% piece that blends their signature style with the iconic toy. The half-metal, half-vinyl [email protected] features Sorayama's trademarked sleek, futuristic design alongside the gritty materials informed by Arsham's “Future Archaeology.”
[email protected] has also collaborated with the estates of legendary artists Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat to produce iconic figures featuring their artwork. One such collaboration resulted in the creation of a [email protected] adorned with New Flame, an artwork created in 1985 and credited to both Warhol and Basquiat. The 1000% [email protected] is instantly recognizable with its black and red shades and the distinctive designs and motifs of both artists — presented on one canvas.
[email protected] WORLD WIDE TOUR 3 in Hong Kong
March 21 — May 10