Simple Facts About Takashi Murakami

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Who is Takashi Murakami ? Famous for his color saturated and sexually deranged anime artworks, the artist is often outshined by his psychedelic asphyxiating vision. Artsper shares ten facts that will help you understand and read his art.

Dobbs Damier Print

 1 A combination of modernism and tradition

Even though Japanese artist Takashi Murakami is known for his visually contemporary and vibrant work, he offers us a more subtle reflection and a clever play of contrasts between tradition and modernity. On a technical level, he uses artistic media and materials of cutting edge technology and at the same time revives ancient Japanese artistic techniques like gold leaf painting. Also, on a more figurative level, he creates a colour saturated world almost hallucinogenic where Buddhist iconography and anime heroes share the canvas together. There are also hints of traditional references like Ogata Korîn and modern ones like Stanley Kubrick.

Doraemon Flower Print

2 Superflat

Takashi Murakami is the creator of artistic movement “Superflat”. The term was used for the first time in 2001 during an exhibition he organized in Tokyo retracing the origins of Japanese contemporary art through the history of Japanese traditional art. This artistic trend includes Japanese art inspired by manga and anime. In the word “Superflat” : there is the word “flat” that refers to the flatness found in Japanese pictorial art. Indeed, for centuries, Japanese art does not know of perspective and is always very two dimensional. “Superflat” also criticizes the vacuity of consumerist Japanese post-war culture.

warhol murakami artsper

3 About Andy Warhol

Murakami’s art is strongly impregnated by the work of Andy Warhol. Indeed, his  two artpieces Warhol/Silver and Warhol/Gold are a direct reference to Warhol’s flower series. We find in Murakami a deep respect for Warhol’s legacy but also a stunning and profound reflection for his master. In Sarah Thornton’s book Seven days in the art world, when asked about Warhol, Takashi answers with a surprising frustration in his words.
“Warhol’s genius was his discovery of easy painting,” he explained. “I am jealous of Warhol. I’m always asking my design team, ‘Warhol was able to create such an easy painting life, why our work so complicated?’ But the history knows! My weak point is my oriental background. Eastern flavor is too much presentation. I think it is unfair for me in the contemporary art battlefield, but I have no choice because I am Japanese.”

KAIKAI & KIKI by Takashi Murakami

4 Kaikai kiki Co

Like Warhol, Murakami creates a sort of Factory, an atelier developed into an empire, Kaikai Kiki Co. A lot like Jeff Koons factory in New York, they are places of production where hundreds of workers execute different steps of artistic process to realize the artists’ idea. However Murakami goes further in this approach and creates numerous merchandise like flower anime printed rugs referring to his signature motif

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