February - 12 March 2011
34FineArt is privileged to announce the latest exhibition of editions from the Gallery collection by Japanese artist Takashi Murakami.
Having recently concluded a controversial exhibition at Château de Versailles in France, as well as awing onlookers with 10 meter balloon renditions of his studio mascots Kaikai and Kiki at the Macy’s Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, Murakami’s presence on the international stage is mounting.
In his latest exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery, his first solo exhibition in Rome, two epic paintings from his
Dragon in Clouds series - Red Mutation and Indigo Blue - each comprising nine panels and measuring eighteen meters long, are on view. Cloud and dragon paintings were also key references for eighteenth century Japanese artist Soga Shohaku, whose eccentric and daring visual inventiveness has been a great inspiration for Murakami. While these monochromatic acrylic paintings depart from his usual technicolour palette, Murakami continues to draw on a wide range of influences, from Japanese religious symbols to the popular Japanese video game
Blue Dragon. Trained in the classical Japanese style of Nihonga - a 19th century mixture of eastern and western styles of painting - it is not uncommon for him to tap into this rich history of painting, iconography, myths and legends.
His series of tondo flower works that will be exhibited at
34FineArt was started in 2008 and the original paintings were shown for the first time in September/October 2009 at Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris. This body of work also includes the latest Chrysanthemum works. The magnificence of the prints lies not only in the printing techniques used but also in the rich combination of materials. The content of the works is informed by the motifs of seventeenth-century Japanese painter and lacquerer Ogata Kõrin who belonged to the Rinpa school. Kõrin was known for his elaborate decorative screen paintings with rich gold foil and for his textile designs. Flowers and close studies of nature formed an integral part of his flat decorative design. In this series of tondos (circular-format prints), Murakami has refashioned the classic designs by Kõrin whose white chrysanthemum motifs left a profound impression on him. The flowers stand out on gold or platinum-leaf backgrounds in the purest Japanese tradition. The precious materials and format create a delicate contrast with the fragility of the ethereal plants, much like in Kõrin’s work
Red Prunus (on two screens). It incorporates his smiley candy-coloured flowers with the traditional Kõrin landscape. Murakami also pays tribute to another influential artist, Andy Warhol, with the work entitled
Takashi Murakami was born in 1962 in Tokyo, and received his B.F.A., M.F.A. and PhD from the Tokyo University of the Arts. He founded the Hiropon Factory in Tokyo in 1996 which later evolved into Kaikai Kiki, an art production and art management corporation. In addition to the production and marketing of Murakami's art and related work, Kaikai Kiki provides a supportive environment for the development of emerging artists. Murakami is also a curator, cultural entrepreneur, and critical observer of contemporary Japanese society. He also started the Geisai art festival. In 2000, he organized a paradigmatic exhibition of Japanese art entitled
"Superflat" which traced the origins of contemporary Japanese visual pop culture in historical Japanese art. He has continued this work in subsequent exhibitions such as
"Coloriage" (Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Paris, 2002) and
"Little Boy: The Art of Japan's Exploding Subcultures" (Japan Society, New York, 2005). Murakami's major solo exhibitions include Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (2001); Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2001); "Kaikai Kiki," Fondation Cartier pour l'art Contemporain, Paris and the Serpentine Gallery, London (2002). A comprehensive survey exhibition opened at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in 2007 and traveled to the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt and the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao in 2008-2009.
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