Gagosian Gallery is representing the new paintings and sculptures of the iconic Japanese artist, Takashi Murakami, from November 10th of this year through January 17th, 2015.
If I had to choose one contemporary artist who is loved regardless of generation or gender, it would be Takashi Murakami, whose influence on art and popular culture transcends all boundaries. This talented artist is known for his unique and psychedelic art works that incorporate vividly colored figures, his ‘Superflat theory’ related with manga and anime, and his representative cartoonish characters: Kaikai, Kiki and Mr. Dob. Throughout his career, Murakami has astonished the world by his breathtaking imagination, and in the new exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery, he is once again inviting viewers into his daydreaming world. However, this time he created more serious version of universe with combining of religious and secular subjects that clearly expresses his originality and identity as a Japanese artist. In his latest show, his works are presented as a reflection of both contemporary and pre-modern Japan and its aesthetics, but at the same time, American Pop Art is effectively blended into the show. His hybrid style of Japanese Otaku and American Pop, so called Poku, keeps mesmerizing viewers with its eye grabbing colors and energetic shapes.
As a reflection of the Great Tohoku Earthquake of 2011, he brought Japanese Buddhist motifs into his works, such as lotus flowers, a 56-ton replica of a Sanmon (the most important gate of a Japanese Zen Buddhist temple), and the giant fictional creatures that resemble Buddhist guardians from Japanese temples. Through these allegorical works, he guides viewers deeper into the land of the dead, stepping on the tail of a rainbow.
The overwhelming collection of work makes it seem as if Murakami has actualized his fantastic world of life and death, and successfully jammed it into the four gallery rooms. Among the collections, colorful skulls are repeated in many of his works. Sometimes, the abstracted images of skulls appears in golden background patterns; sometimes it becomes the main subject, and the powerful iconography reminds the viewers of memento mori, not in sad but in beautified ways through Murakami’s cartoonish style.
When it comes to contemporary art, what could be more successful than a thought-provoking art that also gives amusement and pleasure to the viewers? In that manner, He already accomplished great achievements in his new show.
Be ready to be shocked and amazed before you enter the gallery, because his paintings and sculptures are not easy to digest, and will surprise you in so many ways. Even after I left the gallery, I continued to see the afterimages of Murakami’s hyper-realistic world.
IN THE LAND OF THE DEAD, STEPPING ON THE TAIL OF A RAINBOW
NOVEMBER 10, 2014 – JANUARY 17, 2015
Gagosian Galley West 24th street
Article by Tiffany Park
Photography by Jamie Martinez