Paintings by Takashi Murakami
Paintings by Takashi Murakami
A lightning rod between different cultural valencies (high/low, ancient/modern, oriental/occidental), Takashi 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. Parallel to utopian and dystopian themes, he recollects and revitalizes narratives of transcendence and enlightenment, often involving outsider-savants. 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.
Takashi Murakami is widely recognized for his ability to adapt the aesthetics of Japanese traditional art to operate within the context of popular culture.Murakami studied Japanese painting at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1986 and a Ph.D. in 1993. After completing his studies, he increasingly displayed his works in solo and group exhibitions, making his European debut in 1995 in “
TransCulture,” held at the 46th Venice Biennale. The following year Murakami’s paintings and sculptures were featured most notably at the second Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art at the Queensland Art Gallery in Australia.
Trained in traditional Japanese art, Murakami saw similarities between the flat composition of Japanese painting and the simplified aesthetics of anime and manga (Japanese comics). His style, which emphasized two-dimensional forms and bold, striking imagery, gave birth to an artistic movement known as Superflat hich not only acknowledged but glorified the interaction between the commercial and art worlds.
Murakami is also a curator, a cultural entrepreneur, and a critical observer of contemporary Japanese society. In 2000, he organized a paradigmatic exhibition of Japanese art titled “Superflat,” which traced the origins of contemporary Japanese visual pop culture in historical Japanese art. He has continued this work in subsequent impactful 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). In 2011, he organized the “New Day: Artists for Japan” international charity auction at Christie’s New York in response to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.
Murakami currently lives and works in Tokyo.