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IntroductionTakashi 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.
1962 Born in Tokyo, Japan 1988 Master of Fine Arts from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, Tokyo, Japan 1993 PhD from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, Tokyo, Japan 1998 Guest Professor at UCLA’s School of Art and Architecture, Los Angeles, USA 2001 Founded 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, USACollections
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, USAExhibitions
2020 Happy!, NSU Art Museum, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA
Murakami por Murakami, Instituto Tomie Ohtake, Sao Paulo, Brazil
2019 Takashi Murakami: GYATEI², Gagosian, Los Angeles, USA 2018 Under the Radiation Falls, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, Russia
Change the Rule!, Gagosian, Hong Kong
Takashi Murakami in Wonderland, Perrotin, Shanghai, China
HEADS↔HEADS, Perrotin, New York, U.S.A.
2017 Murakami by Murakami, Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo, Norway
Takashi Murakami's Superflat Consideration on Contemporary Ceramics, Towada Art Center, Aomori, Japan
The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, USA, (Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas; Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada)
Takashi Murakami Lineage of Eccentrics, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA
The Deep End of the Universe, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, USA
2016 Learning the Magic of Paintings, Perrotin, Paris, France 2015 Murakami, The 500 Arhats, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan 2014 In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow, Gagosian Gallery, New York, USA Arhat Cycle, Palazzo Reale, Milan, Italy 2013 Takashi in Superflat Wonderland, Plateau, Seoul, South Korea Takashi Murakami, Galerie Perrotin, Hong Kong, China Arhat. Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, USA 2012 Flowers and Skulls, Gagosian Gallery, Hong Kong, China Murakami: Ego, Qatar Museums Authority, Doha, Qatar Takashi Murakami, Gagosian Gallery, London, UK 2011 Homage to Yves Klein, Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris, France
2021 Hong Kong Exchange, Hong Kong, China 2020 STARS: Six Contemporary Artists from Japan to the World, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan 2018 America Too, Murakami & Abloh, Gagosian Beverly Hills, Beverly Hills, USA 2016 Superflat Collection: From Shohaku and Rasanjin to Anselm Kiefer, Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama, Japan 2015 The Mannequin of History: Art After Fabrications of Critique and Culture, Expo 2015 Modena, Modena, Italy 2014 G 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 2013 Intellectual 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 2012 Regarding Warhol. Sixty Artists; Fifty Years, Metropolitan Museum, New York, USA 2011 Collection Platform 1: Circulation, Pinchuk Art Centre, Kiev, Ukraine The World Belongs to You, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, Italy 2009 Sold Out: The Artist in the Age of Pop, Tate Modern, London, UK