“I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me… She showed me her room, isn’t it good, norwegian wood? She asked me to stay and she told me to sit anywhere, So I looked around and I noticed there wasn’t a chair. I sat on a rug, biding my time, drinking her wine We talked until two and then she said, "It’s time for bed” She told me she worked in the morning and started to laugh. I told her I didn’t and crawled off to sleep in the bath And when I awoke, I was alone, this bird had flown So I lit a fire, isn’t it good, norwegian wood.“
Pop art icon Takashi Murakami is returning to Paris France with his latest exhibit “Learning the Magic of Painting” which is opening this week and will remain on display until December 23rd 2016
On February 1st, 1962 Takashi Murakami was born. Murakami grew up in a household that placed a high value on art inspiring both Takashi and his younger brother Yuri to become an artist. Murakami developed an early love and passion for animé and manga due to the stylized art and color palettes. Aside from animation and manga Murakami credits western movies as an impact on his career “Only recently did I realize how much I’ve been influenced by Steven Spielberg.” Later Murakami would find himself at T.U.A Tokyo University of the Arts, seeking the drafting skills necessary to become an animator, but eventually majored in Nihonga, the ‘traditional’ style of Japanese painting incorporating traditional Japanese artistic conventions, techniques and subjects. With the knowledge of a Ph.D. in Nihonga and the influence of manga, he gradually chose to explore more contemporary art styles, media, and strategies.
Murakami grew to become unsatisfied with the state of contemporary art in Japan, believing it to be “a deep appropriation of Western trends.” In response to the stale art scene Murakami began developing his own pop icon motifs such as “Mr. DOB,” whose name plays on the slang expression “dobojite,” meaning “why?“—was originally created as a statement that Japanese art doesn’t need to imitate American art, and should find its own means of expression. This later developed into a form of self-portraiture, the first of several endlessly morphing and recurring emblems shown throughout his archives. Though he garnered attention, many of his early pieces were not initially well received in Japan. With the attention gained, Murakami continued to embrace unconventional works of art embracing the now well received kawaii movement. ”I set out to investigate the secret of market survivability—the universality of characters such as Mickey Mouse, Sonic the Hedgehog, Doraemon, Miffy, and Hello Kitty.“
While Murakami became well known (to say the least) in both Japan and the United States; it was his handbag designs for Louis Vuitton in 2003 that propelled him into worldwide celebrity status. Murakami’s designs reinvigorated and revamped the fashion empire’s products and status, making Louis Vuitton bags the hot new must-have item for any and every one that could make the purchase. Murakami applied his trademark use of vivid, bright colors to the traditional “LV” logo, incorporating his signature emblems, such as wide-open cartoon eyes and smiling blossoms. In conjunction with the Louis Vuitton handbag release, the release of Kanye West’s 2007 album release Graduation skyrocketed Murakami’s success and position in the art world due to his design gracing the cover of the album. The collaborations lead to another partnership in 2008; “The Simple Things” an art show collaboration with close friend Pharrell Williams showcasing the beauty in everyday items.
Murakami returned to the art world with “The 500 Arhats” in 2012 as a token of gratitude to the nation of Qatar, one of the first countries to offer support after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011. “The 500 Arhats” is considered to be the largest painting in history standing at 10-feet in height and stretching at a 300-feet length. The story behind the works of art came from the legend of the 500 Arhats; followers of Buddha that spent their lives spreading the knowledge of his teachings. It is said that the story was introduced to Japan during the Heian period, presenting itself to the public through works on canvas and wood and stone sculptures. Murakami engaged with more than 200 students from national colleges in order to complete this monumental artwork. After “The 500 Arhats” Murakami released his debut film “Jellyfish eyes” a child’s tale of poignant memories and wondrous dreams. When asked why embark on a children’s film Murakami responded with “Looking back at my own life, what forms me now is almost entirely my experience in childhood, the stories I heard in childhood. So I wanted to make a story addressed to children as well.” Since the release of “Jellyfish Eyes” Murakami has directed “It Girl” (a Pharrell Williams music video), and has promised a “Jellyfish Eyes” film trilogy.
Takashi Murakami’s latest exhibit held at the famous Galerie Perrotin “Learning the Magic of Painting,” is opening this week in Paris. The 12th solo exhibition will span across the three spaces in Paris at 76 rue de Turenne and 10 impasse Saint-Claude featuring more than 40 recent and never before seen artworks. The exhibit will feature “The 500 Arhats”, 15 painted handbags with accompanying paintings, monumental multi-panel painting “A Picture of Lives Wriggling in the Forest at the Deep End of the Universe” which reaches around three walls and represents a large scale anthology of Murakami’s mind-melting world and Zen influenced sculptures alike. Throughout the exhibition, the artist’s trademark style is instantly recognizable due to the always monstrous yet “kawaii” characters, the indigenous flower and skull motifs and the tone of impermanence in our lives that Takashi Murakami so effortlessly creates.
“Learning the Magic of Painting” will be on display until December 23rd 2016.