Go See – Paris: Takashi Murakami at Emmanuel Perrotin, through October 17, 2009

September 29th, 2009

Murakami aluminum bears via Billionaire Boys Club

Galerie Emannuel Perrotin is showing, until October 17, an important collection of new works by Takashi Murakami.  The exhibit brings together seventeen paintings, including three monumental ones, as well as five sculptures and two movies.  Coming shortly after the end of Murakami’s retrospective exhibition, which traveled from the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art to New York, Frankfurt and Bilbao, at a time when Murakami’s work is very much in the public eye, this exhibit is entitled “Takashi Murakami Paints Self-Portraits” and is dedicated to the portrayal of the artist himself, through the means of the various characters who populate his work.

Kaikai Kiki and Me, Takashi Murakami (2008) via Galerie Perrotin

Related Links:
Takashi Murakami Artist Page [Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin]
Kaikai Kiki Co. [Official Website]
Murakami Paints Himself Warhol [Interview Magazine]
Takashi Murakami: in the court of the king of cute [Times]
Openings: Takashi Murakami “Self-Portraits” @ Emmanuel Perrotin [Arrested Motion]
Artist Takashi Murakami talks on how he paints [Guardian]

View of Exhibition via Galerie Perrotin

Takashi Murakami Self-Portrait via Billionaire Boys Club

The features of Murakami’s works are well known.  On the one hand, Murakami’s work is heavily inspired by Japan’s manga and anime-obsessed subculture – Murakami himself appears in his paintings as a cartoon character, with his recognizable goatee, glasses and round face.  He has also created for himself a variety of alter-egos, such as Mr. DoB, a Mickey Mouse look-alike who alternately appears as angelic or demonic, owing to Murakami’s interest in exploring his own personality.  Another pair of these creatures are Kaikai and Kiki, who respectively represent good and evil.  Murakami adds to this his passion for Japanese art history, paying tribute particularly to paintings of the nihonga style, about which he wrote his PhD dissertation.  A new series of tondos, circular-format paintings, of chrysanthemums cites the works of eighteenth-century painter, Ogata Korin.

Planet of Ecology: The Earth, Takashi Murakami (2008 – 2009) via Galerie Perrotin

The chrysanthemum series of tondos bring to mind the work of Andy Warhol, to whom Murakami is frequently compared, and whom Murakami designates as a major source of inspiration.  The comparison between the two is well-founded:  Warhol used a silkscreen to achieve a flat effect, while Murakami’s paintings are additionally computer-assisted.  Murakami’s chrysanthemums look very similar to Warhol’s series of flower prints, and his rondos adopt the same format as Warhol’s gold Marilyn.  Both artists outsource their artistic production to a team of hired helpers and stamp their signature on the completed work:  Warhol had the Factory and Murakami has Kaikai Kiki, which started as Murakami’s studio and assistants to become a large, professional art production and management organization, with international offices.

I Recall The Time When My Feet Lifted Off The Ground, Ever so Slightly – Korin – Chrysanthemum , Takashi Murakami (2009) via Galerie Perrotin

It could be said that Murakami took one of Warhol’s maxims as his personal moto: “Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.” In our service-oriented economy, Murakami adds to Warhol’s commercial model, confusing the boundaries of high and low art by making a million-dollar sculpture and selling the same subject as a key-chain for a few dollars.  Also presented in the exhibition are five sculptures, including four of the bears he created for Kanye West’s Graduation album.