Takashi Murakami’s first exhibition in Hong Kong explores one of the central dichotomies of his art—between joy and terror, his optimistic magnanimity as an artist and his pessimistic perspective on postwar Japan. Here, this dichotomy is symbolized by the stark contrast of bright smiling flowers and disturbing, menacing representations of skulls.
Whether depicted as single iconic “portraits” or in complex clusters of virtuoso composition and paintwork that combine painstaking traditional artisanal techniques with the pop and fizz of manga, the flower and the skull stand as eternal motifs in the history of art and popular culture. Both oppositional and parallel, they are reminders of the fragile vibrancy of life and the inexorable passing of time.
Murakami has stated that the artist is someone who understands the borders between worlds and who makes an effort to know them. With his distinctive “Superflat” style and ethos, which employs highly refined classical Japanese painting techniques to depict a super-charged mix of Pop, animé and otaku content within a flattened representational picture-plane, he moves freely within an ever-expanding field of aesthetic issues and cultural inspirations.
Mining religious and secular subjects favored by the so-called Japanese “eccentrics” or non-conformist artists of the Early Modern era commonly considered to be counterparts of the Western Romantic tradition, Murakami situates himself within their legacy of bold and lively individualism in a manner that is entirely his own and of his time.
Expoziția Flowers and Skulls poate fi vizitată la Gagosian Gallery, Hong Kong, până în data de 9 februarie 2013.
1. TAKASHI MURAKAMI, Not yet titled, 2012, © Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Courtesy of Gagosian Gallery.