This signed lithograph from 1989 is a limited edition of 90 from Keith Haring’s Chocolate Buddha series. Chocolate Buddha 2 shows an image of four figures, with their limbs intertwined to create a symmetrical pattern reminiscent of Aztec or Aboriginal art. Haring uses two tones of red in this print, the darker to outline the figures and the lighter to create stripes across the entire picture plane, emphasising the sense of pattern in the print.
The print has a compulsive quality that fills out across the canvas that contrasts to Haring’s typical use of simplified form and block colour. There is a flow to his use of line that works alongside the symmetrical composition whereby the eye follows the electric lines in harmony with the image. Haring’s use of thin, striped lines across the image creates a jarring effect against the thick, bold outlines of the figures, injecting the static image with a sense of movement.
Explaining why many of his works resemble Aztec or Aboriginal art, Haring has said ‘My drawings don’t try to imitate life; they try to create life, to invent life,’ something that he believed aligned with so-called primitive ideas. Chocolate Buddha 2 is exemplary of this notion by forming a rhythmic, all-over composition that focuses on symmetry rather than realism. Thus, Haring produces a kinetic image that excites the viewer and transcends reality.