Currently displayed at the Gagosian’s Davies Street gallery in London are new paintings by Takashi Murakami. The compact exhibition features three larger scale paintings including new work in the Time Bokan series and from his trademark Kakai and Kiki characters. The Kaikai and Kiki (2009) painting is accompanied by new paintings in the Time Bokan series that Murakami began in 1933. A central image in Murakami’s work is the skull-shaped mushroom cloud borrowed from the Japanese anime TV series from the 1970s. Found in both Time- Camouflage Moss Green and Bokan-Camouflage Pink, the cloud symbolizes the fall of the villain at the end of each episode but can be likened as well to the atomic bombing of Japan.
Lots, lots of Kaikai and Kiki (2009) by Takashi Murakami, via The Gagosian Gallery
Born in Tokyo in 1962, Murakami received his BFA, MFA, and Phd from the Tokyo University of the Arts. He founded the Hiropon Factory in Tokyo in 1996 that later became Kaikai Kiki, an art production and art management corporation. Kaikai Kiki also functions as an establishment to aid young Japanese artists. Murakami is also a curator and a cultural entrepreneur. His work combines the worlds of popular animé and manga cartoons with the refined and elegant techniques of traditional Nihonga painting. His art challenges established stereotypes between high art and popular culture, East and West, present and past, and life and death.
Installation View of Takashi Murakami’s New Paintings, via The Gagosian Gallery