Takashi Murakami – Gagosian

Murakami takashi

we want to see the newest stuff. that’s because we want to see the future, even momentarily. It is the moment in which, although we do not fully understand what we have glimpsed, it moves us. this is what we have come to call art.—takashi murakami

Drawing inspiration from traditional Japanese painting, science fiction, anime, and the global art market, Takashi Murakami creates paintings, sculptures, and films populated with repeating motifs and mutating characters of his own creation. His extensive work represents an intersection of pop culture, history, and fine art.

murakami earned a bachelor’s, master’s of fine arts, and doctorate degrees from tokyo university of the arts, where he studied nihonga (traditional japanese painting). In 1996 she established the Hiropon Factory, a studio/workshop that in subsequent years became an art production and artist management company, now known as Kaikai Kiki Co. Ltd.

Since the early 1990s, Murakami has invented characters that combine aspects of popular Japanese, European, and American cartoons, from his first Mr. dob, who sometimes acts as a stand-in for the artist himself, to various anime characters and smiling flowers, bears and lions. these figures act as icons and symbols, hosts to more complex themes of violence, technology, and fantasy.

in 2000, murakami curated superflat, an exhibition featuring works by artists whose techniques and media synthesize various aspects of japanese visual culture, from ukiyo-e (edo-period woodblock prints) to anime and kawaii (a particularly cute in cartoons, handwriting, products and more). With this exhibition, Murakami advanced his superflat theory of art, which highlights the “flatness” of Japanese visual culture from traditional painting to contemporary subcultures in the context of World War II and its aftermath.

Murakami’s work extends to mass-produced items such as toys, key chains, and T-shirts. In 2002 she began a multi-year collaboration with Marc Jacobs on the redesign of the Louis Vuitton Monogram. Murakami then took the radical step of directly incorporating Vuitton’s monograms and patterns into his paintings and sculptures. While Murakami’s images may appear to feature unprecedented character and form, many contain explicit art historical references, and some are even direct contemporary updates of traditional Japanese works.

in 2009, murakami and esteemed art historian nobuo tsuji began a creative dialogue centering on a group of japanese artists known as the edo eccentrics. This collaboration led to an exhibition at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in 2017, for which Murakami and Tsuji selected Japanese works from the museum’s collection and displayed them alongside works by Murakami. the last included dragon in the clouds: red mutation: the version i painted in annoyance after professor nobuo tsuji told me, “why don’t you just paint something yourself for once?” (2010), a monochrome version in red of the famous 18th century dragon and clouds painting by soga shōhaku.

Following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and subsequent Fukushima nuclear crisis, Murakami began to explore in depth the impact of historic natural disasters on Japanese art and culture. In his 2014 Gagosian exhibition at West 24th Street in New York, In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow, he created an immersive installation of eclectic arhats; Deliquescent clones of your fictional creature Mr. date of birth; and karajishi, the mythical lions that guard Japanese Buddhist temples, which visitors entered through a replica of a sanmon (sacred gate).

murakami not only fuses different time periods, styles, and themes in his work, but his approach to art crosses the boundaries between gallery, studio, art fair, and media as well. In addition to creating paintings and sculptures, he has organized art fairs for emerging artists, curated exhibitions, and made films featuring his many characters and motifs. Combining fantasy, science, and history, she shows that none of these categories can be considered in isolation.

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