Takashi Murakami
  • Introduction

  • Bio

  • Exhibitions

  • Links

Takashi Murakami has firmly established himself in the international art scene with his spectacular and distinctively Japanese aesthetic. Inspired by his homeland’s anime and manga culture, he creates loud, brightly coloured paintings that are instantly recognizable and have earned him the moniker “The Japanese Andy Warhol”. In true pop-art style, he blurs the boundaries between fine art and mass culture, integrating marketing and consumerism into his artistic concept. In doing so, he traverses the spheres of art, design, and pop culture, as shown by his collaboration with Louis Vuitton and the album cover he designed for Kanye West.

While studying Art at university, Murakami began to experiment with traditional Japanese painting, an influence that is still visible in his work. The artistic approach he developed, Superflat, traces aesthetic links between contemporary Japanese pop culture and the country’s artistic heritage. Particularly important is the two-dimensional “flat” composition, a hallmark of Japan’s visual culture which differs from the illusion of spatial depth in the Western tradition. The term “Superflat” also refers to the flattening of the cultural hierarchy between “high” and “low”, something that has become popular in post-war Japan.

In Murakami’s work, cool and kitsch are never far apart. Colourful can seem bleak and apocalyptic; cute and creepy intertwine almost seamlessly. This ambiguity is what is so fascinating about his work. Diverse stimuli overwhelm viewers and suck them into the surreal and colourful imagery. Over time, the artist has created his own distinctive iconography. Laughing flowers, mushrooms, and skulls, for example, are recurrent motifs that pervade his works. They can be found throughout his paintings, sculptures, and designs.

“Flower Balls” stands out through its clever play with space and illusion. By introducing a distorted perspective, the prints appear – depending on the viewing angle – almost three-dimensional. This effect is strengthened through the floating appearance in the frame. They are super flat, and yet sculptural, at the same time.

Daniela Kummle
1962Born in Tokyo, Japan
1988Master of Fine Arts from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, Tokyo, Japan
1993PhD from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, Tokyo, Japan
1998Guest Professor at UCLA’s School of Art and Architecture, Los Angeles, USA
2001Founded the art production company “Kaikai Kiki” with headquarters in Tokyo, Japan and an office in New York, USA
Lives and works in Tokyo, Japan and New York, USA

Collections (Selection)

Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
Pinchuk Art Centre, Kiew, Ukraine
Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea
Queensland Museum, Brisbane, Australia
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA
Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan
Bard College Center for Curatorial Studies Museum, New York, USA

Solo Exhibitions (Selection)

2015Murakami, The 500 Arhats, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan
2014In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow, Gagosian Gallery, New York, USA
Arhat Cycle, Palazzo Reale, Milan, Italy
2013Takashi in Superflat Wonderland, Plateau, Seoul, South Korea
Takashi Murakami, Galerie Perrotin, Hong Kong, China
Arhat. Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, USA
2012Flowers and Skulls, Gagosian Gallery, Hong Kong, China
Murakami: Ego, Qatar Museums Authority, Doha, Qatar
Takashi Murakami, Gagosian Gallery, London, UK
2011Homage to Yves Klein, Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris, France

Group Exhibitions (Selection)

2016Superflat Collection: From Shohaku and Rasanjin to Anselm Kiefer, Yokohama
Museum of Art, Yokohama, Japan
2015The Mannequin of History: Art After Fabrications of Critique and Culture, Expo 2015
Modena, Modena, Italy
2014G I R L, curated by Pharrell Williams, Galerie Perrotin, Paris, France
Takahashi Collection 2014: Mindfulness! Nagoya City Art Museum, Nagoya, Japan
Dirge: Reflections on [Life and] Death, Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, USA
Making Links: 25 Years, SCAI, The Bathhouse, Tokyo, Japan
2013Intellectual Game, Shanghai Xintiandi Culture Festival, Shanghai, China
Re: Quest―Japanese Contemporary Art since the 1970s, Museum of Art Seoul, South Korea
Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea
2012Regarding Warhol. Sixty Artists; Fifty Years, Metropolitan Museum, New York, USA
2011Collection Platform 1: Circulation, Pinchuk Art Centre, Kiev, Ukraine
The World Belongs to You, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, Italy
2009Sold Out: The Artist in the Age of Pop, Tate Modern, London, UK

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