Go See – New York: Takashi Murakami’s ‘A Picture Of The Blessed Lion Who Stares At Death’ at Gagosian Gallery through October 24, 2009

October 5th, 2009

A Picture Of The Blessed Lion Who Stares At Death, Takashi Murakami

Currently on display in a side room at Gagosian Gallery’s w24th Street warehouse complex, NYC  is Picture of Fate: I am but a Fisherman Who Angles in the Darkness of his Mind.  This is a one-painting exhibition showcasing a major new work by Takashi Murakami: A Picture Of The Blessed Lion Who Stares At Death. This small show appears at the same time as the large exhibition of his work currently on show at the Emannuel Perrotin Gallery, Paris.

A Picture Of The Blessed Lion Who Stares At Death, Takashi Murakami

Related Links:
Gagosian Gallery Homepage
Takashi Murakami Does Death [NYTimes]
In Chelsea, a Chapetr in Abstract Art and Some Long Verse [NYTimes]
Murakami Confronts Mortality [The L Magazine]
Anselm Reyle and Takashi Murakami open at Gagosian Gallery [ARTCO]

More pictures and text after the jump…

Murakami is well-known for adopting traditional Japanese painting techniques to suit his pop-art style work in order to create a “Superflat” picture plane.  Most prominent in this painting is his use of Kezuri, a word that literally means to “shave or scrape off”, Murakami creates the surface of the painting by applying then sanding away layer upon layer of paint to produce a rich and varied patina.

This large, four-panel canvas depicts the Japanese legend of the Karajishi (China-Lion), created believed to guard Buddhist Temples from evil spirits, which originated in China during the Tang dynasty. At the time of their origination no-one had ever seen a real lion and all idea of form was taken from versions conjured-up by Indian and Assyrian artists, therefore representations of the animals became increasingly fanciful over time.

A Picture Of The Blessed Lion Who Stares At Death, Takashi Murakami

According to the legend the Karajishi would throw their cubs off cliff tops to test their strength and resilience and therefore only allow for the ‘survival of the fittest’. Murakami has created an image depicting the surviving cubs playing on a bridge of human skulls joined by the mature Karajishi.

On the left side of the second panel is a line from an ancient Buddhist text written in Chinese characters referring to achieving enlightenment, or ultimate consciousness: “Grass, trees, countries, the earth itself–all these shall enter wholly into Buddhahood.”